Barbados should be proud of its Holders Season, which is proving so exceptional that it is difficult to reproduce anywhere else.
This supposition came from public relations consultant with the event, Adisa Aja Andwele, as he addressed patrons and partners at the launch of the 2014 season last Friday.
“Over the years, some of the best of what we have to offer in Barbados have passed through here,” he said of Holders Season.
“A lot of people remember the Holders Band which was like a superband in Barbados, led by Arturo Tappin and Tamara Marshall and Marissa Lindsay, Andre Daniel and James Lovell, and it was a superband on the West Coast. But we also have people like Mighty Gabby, John King performing here, as well as from the region. The Desperados actually performed and recorded live here . . . and we had the great legendary Roaring Lion. When he performed he was 92 and he is a phenomenon. Unfortunately for the world, it was his last performance.
“We experiment with a lot of music here . . . . Holders has made a tremendous contribution to the whole cultural landscape of Barbados. It is a unique festival. It is the only festival of its type, not only in Barbados, but in the entire Caribbean,” said Aja.
He went on to state though: “People have contacted Wendy [Kidd, founder and producer of Holders Season] over the years to see if Holders can be duplicated. We did make some attempts in St Lucia. We had requests from Trinidad, we had requests from Jamaica. I think it shows . . . to create a festival of this type is tremendous and the fact that it seems that it cannot be duplicated anywhere else just shows what we have here in Barbados.”
Kidd recalled when Holders Season began as an Easter opera production with just eight performers over three nights.
“When we first started I certainly didn’t envision still being at it in 2014 . . . . [The] next year I found myself with 80 performers –– opera, theatre, Shakespeare, polo and our first premiere . . . . We’ve evolved and I am always endeavouring to ensure that Barbados Holders is the best in the Caribbean,” said Kidd.
She said she was also proud of the local performances.
“I’m especially proud when we have our local performers here. I go to NIFCA all the time and I find fabulous people at NIFCA, but I found an absolutely marvellous group of children, up to the age of 22 who have been properly trained in stagecraft. So each one of them can dance, sing and act and they are . . . . It is really exciting and I am really happy they are going to be performing as well. Just a small chunk and I’m looking forward to welcoming you all to Holders.”
Representing the title sponsors Virgin Atlantic’s Caribbean, regional manager Nick Parker congratulated Kidd and her team on maintaining the festival over the last 21 years.
“It’s a year of significant dates. Going on now we have the 375th anniversary of the Barbados Parliament, 21 years of Holders, it’s actually Virgin Atlantic’s 15th year of being involved with Holders and also Virgin Atlantic this year is 30 years old.”
Thanking Kidd and her team for what they had achieved over the period, Parker called Holders Season “magical”, adding that he was unsure whether it was appreciated just how much work went on behind the scenes.