By Anesta Henry
The Bridgetown International Arts Festival has grown significantly since its inception in 2020, producer Andrea King said on Monday as the fourth edition of the week-long event was launched.
King, the Director of Culture and Arts for Love & Living, said at the launch at the Food Lounge, Bridgetown Duty Free in The City, that the multi-disciplinary event which is designed to showcase the best in emerging and seasoned talent in the arts across the world has already received more than double the number of applications compared to when it started three years ago.
She said participation in the March 18-25 festival is by “Open Call” and anyone wanting to share their work with the public or just artistically express themselves can do so.
In the first year of the festival, which is open to regional and international artists, just under 40 applications were submitted. This year, the number is significantly more.
“Within one month of the Open Call being launched in October , 25 applications were received from the region, New York, Sierra Leone, Senegal and South Africa. The 2021 and 2022 editions of the festival also attracted applicants from as far away as Cameroon, Australia and Tanzania. Live performances of the 2022 edition were recorded and [that] is currently being shopped for international television/online distribution. This year, we have over 100 applications and have added Swaziland to the list of non-regional countries. St Vincent is also a new Caribbean edition,” King said.
The festival will open on March 18 with Present-Future Perfect Dance at Combermere which will be followed by a food and music lime at the same location.
On March 19, there will be a Brunch and the Word at Cravings by Purity, on Fontabelle, St Michael.
The Music is Life event will take place on March 25 at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society and will include a pop-up featuring local vendors showcasing their arts and craft.
King said the festival is intended to create a national space and platform for art forms and performances that are not privileged to be in the annual Crop Over Festival and the National Independence of Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
She added that it provides an avenue for new and experimental work in all art forms, and a stage for international performing artistes to perform in Barbados, among other objectives.
She said that as a festival produced by artists, the Bridgetown International Arts Festival will remind the public of the impact and importance of the arts and provide an opportunity to gather empirical data and statistics on arts production and participation.
“Barbados has proven that it can benefit from a festival economy and the Bridgetown International Arts Festival can contribute to building the festival economy by
creating economic activity along the value chain of festival production.
“Income will be generated by a number of part-time and full-time businesses, including graphic artists, event planners, theatre producers, actors, performers, musicians, technical service providers, media service providers, clothing and beauty stores, and drink and food service producers,” King said.