The annual Holetown Festival is back with a bang for its 42nd year and major stakeholders are promising that what many believed to be a festival trending in the wrong direction is in line for a much-needed turnaround.
On Sunday night, the festival was launched at a new location on the grounds of the complex which houses the Holetown Police Station, the Holetown Magistrate’s Court and other government offices, and organizers are hoping to breathe new life into the west coast event.
The enthusiasm was evident from the very start as Queen of the Festival Sheryl Forde, officially opened the event with much pomp and pageantry. Bus tours, seaside concerts, a floodlit tattoo and a street parade, which have long become the mainstays of the festival will again be the featured events.
During the early evening session, Minister of Tourism and International Transportation Kerrie Symmonds stressed government’s commitment to the festival’s rejuvenation and highlighted the need for more ordinary Barbadians to be given a full-time stake in the area’s economic activity.
His rallying cry laid the foundation for an opening night filled with passion, charisma and expression in the form of dancing, spoken word pieces and musical selections quite reflective of Barbados’ best. One of the first of those performances came from a young University of the West Indies student, Adiel Charles, who, during a thought provoking and sobering spoken word piece lay bare the realities and challenges of being a black, Caribbean person searching for one’s identity.
The more established and experienced dance group, Dancin’ Africa, wooed the crowd with their afro dance moves, while saxophonist Glenworth Joseph captivated the audience with a moving rendition.
The crowd was then treated to the more familiar faces of Soca artists Biggie Irie and Holetown Festival’s 2019 Ambassador Hypasounds who passionately serenaded patrons with numerous locally made hits which have since made their mark on the region and the world.
If the remainder of the festival is as entertaining as the opening night, based on the reaction from locals and visitors, patrons are indeed, in for a treat. (KS)