The island’s premium national festival in the West opened last Sunday in fine style. Bajans and tourists alike lined the streets and then eventually gathered in the car park by the police station for the official opening ceremony of this year’s Holetown Festival.
Things started off with a parade followed by a Maypole dance display by a combined Haynesville Youth Group and Dancin Africa. The festival then received a ‘blessing’ thanks to the rector of the St James Parish Church Rev. Beverley Sealy-Knight.
Reigning Queen of the Festival Sheryl Forde had the honour of declaring the festival officially open. She thanked the committee and community for allowing her to serve and referred to her tenure as rewarding. Forde also disclosed that the annual Miss Holetown Festival Pageant will not be held during the week of activities. Instead, the marquee event will be held in September as part of the St James We Gatherin’ activities. September 20 is the new date and Queen’s College is the location.
Young Ariel Brathwaite, winner of the Best Talent segment at the Spirit of The Nation Show, gave impressive renditions of United in the Caribbean and Our Land Barbados while Israel J Allen got the crowd going with When Jesus Says Yes and Shackles.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport and Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds delivered the feature address. He spoke about the importance of the Holetown Festival and the need to revamp and pump new blood and energy in all the national festivals across Barbados.
After the official aspects were over, the entertainment got into full swing. A trio of schoolboys who call themselves Northern Synergy did a drama presentation that hit the crowd for six, literally.
The skit was centred around cricket, and the boys were bedecked in their cricketing gear. They used the analogy of cricket to touch on topics such as eating healthy; the dangers of drug abuse, drinking and smoking; being polite and considerate; the need to come to the crease like Sobers and play a solid innings in life … It was absolutely hilarious. They ended to the loud cheers of the audience with one patron shouting to MC Jamar The Starr “more, more”. This prompted him to call the three students on stage where he asked them to give their name, school and age.
Taking the hilarity to the next level was Queen Archibull Cox, who performed a comedic piece. ‘Her’ wide-ranging 15 minutes on stage touched on topics such as the hike in bus fare, church, Valentine’s Day, crime and violence, among others. Dressed in a beautiful red dress, Queen had the crowd in stitches from the beginning to the end.
Reigning Calypso Monarch Classic sang his One Song hit. He was followed by Holetown Festival ambassador Hypasounds who treated the crowd to tunes such as Sugar Rush, Fair Sa, Dip and So Good.
Soca Monarch Mikey threw the crowd into a frenzied state with Enjoy Meh Life, I in Dat, Feting Family, We Loose, Roll It and Come Together (Grass Skirt) as he closed the show.
Events continue throughout the week. There is the annual Grand Floodlit Tattoo on Friday; the annual Street Fair and Parade on Saturday with a nighttime event featuring Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah; and the festival culminates with a concert Sunday night featuring the Royal Barbados Police Force Band, Grynner, RPB, Hypasounds, Adrian Clarke, Ricky Reid and Mac Fingall. (IMC)