New CARIFESTA model launched in Trinidad and Tobago

GREATER GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Under the theme Celebrating our People: Contesting the World Stage, a new model for the staging of the Ninth Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA 1X) was unveiled on Monday 12 June in Trinidad and Tobago, host country of the largest cultural festival of the Caribbean.

The new CARIFESTA, which was approved by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2004 at the Twenty Fourth Meeting of The Conference held in Grenada, takes place from 22 September-1 October. It is envisioned as an avenue to showcase Caribbean art and culture, giving impetus to developing the arts, and facilitating and encouraging artistic and intellectual exchange within the Region. The new CARIFESTA is also considered an event that will accrue trade and economic benefits to the Region.

Over the course of ten days, CARIFESTA 1X will feature performances by over 1200 artists representing at least 30 countries from the English, French and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, along with Latin America, which have signaled their intention to participate.

Signal events in which distinguished individuals or groups (Master Artists) from the artistic Caribbean Community will be invited to present their work, as well as a CARIFESTA Calypso Competition are also earmarked as new elements of the Festival. This feature of the festival has come in for praise from Dr. Earl Lovelace, celebrated Caribbean author and Artistic Director of CARIFESTA lX, who believes it “can give unconditional acceptance of our people and celebrate the monumental contribution they have made in art and culture”.

In outlining other artistic avenues of CARIFESTA 1X, at its recent launch, Festival Director, Ms. Joy Caesar noted that artistic displays by various arts groups including the performing, literary, culinary and visual arts will be on show. In addition, a grand cultural market and trade fair are also expected to be major components of the event.

CARIFESTA is a project of the Regional Cultural Committee, the advisory body to the Ministers of Culture of CARICOM and is currently supervised by the CARICOM Secretariat and implemented by the Host Country Management Committee of CARIFESTA lX. This is the third time that the twin-island Republic will be hosting CARIFESTA, having previously staged the cultural extravaganza in 1992 and 1995.

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