As Barbados gears up to welcome the rest of the Caribbean to its shores for the 13th edition of the Caribbean Festival Of Arts (CARIFESTA) in 2017, it seems the island will take the mega-regional arts festival to a whole new level.
An already excited Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley has hinted that a new element will be introduced to create more lucrative opportunities for artistes and buyers, musicians and promoters.
As the ten-day festival, which was declared a resounding success wrapped up in Haiti on Sunday, Lashley told the official ceremony that Barbados would facilitate a special business forum, which would permit dialogue between the key players.
According to Lashley, in addition to the traditional CARIFESTA events such as the Grand Market and the Super Concert, Barbados is proposing special symposia organized to take a “more business approach” to cultural development. The special event is geared towards “how our region can earn valuable foreign exchange from our creative goods and services”, he affirmed.
Assuring those present that the planning process had already begun for the 13th edition of CARIFESTA in Barbados, Lashley stated that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and the Barbados Government remained “committed to creating the environment that would ensure its success”. He added that the Government would “work closely with the CARICOM Secretariat
to ensure that the objectives are met”.
The Barbados edition will be hosted under the theme Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves.
Citing the region’s readiness to command a space in the “global value chain”, Lashley proposed that this positioning could successfully take place through the artistic and cultural offerings
of each country.
“It is our desire that CARIFESTA XIII would be instrumental in allowing us to stand tall and be proud of who we are and what we are capable of doing. Our artistes have given us this chance and
it is now ours to collectively grab with both hands,” he said.
Lashley, who received the baton from host Prime Minister Michele Martelly of Haiti, commended the government and people of Haiti for staging a successful CARIFESTA.
He said the theme Our Roots, Our Culture, Our Common Future had resonated with each island as it affirmed the common heritage and showed that all CARICOM nations “possessed something that could be shared with the rest of the world –– namely, our culture”.