By Shamar Blunt
A new and contemporary creative arts festival has officially been launched in Barbados with its local producer promising a rich and engaging platform for young artists to engage in.
During Friday’s media launch of the inaugural Blue Escape Arts and Culture, Community and Technology (ACT) Festival and Summit at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, representatives from the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI), Humber College, Justice Fund, Square Circle, and other sponsors came together to reveal the first of its kind event in Barbados, where local and international artists will merge creative ideas.
During her address, Blue Escape ACT Festival executive producer Kerri Birch said the aim of the new festival is to train and later promote a number of young Barbadian creatives to an international audience, to help jumpstart a new interest in the arts sector.
“For us at Blue Escape, we believe that for there to be indeed meaningful change, there must be an impactful cultural change, one that permeates throughout society; a shift that is heard in the songs that we sing, in the stories that we tell, scenes in the books we read and the movies we watch, [and] the clothes we wear,” she said.
“Over the course of the festival, using the pillars of Arts and Culture, Community and Technology, we seek to empower the youth of Barbados by nurturing a creative environment for young people to access arts training while developing creativity and life skills, promote Barbadian creatives to international audiences, realise the creative industries as major economic earner for Barbados, and showcase the diverse and vibrant cultural heritage of the island while fostering communities.”
BCSI president Wendell Cumberbatch praised the launch of the festival, stating that artists under its very own Firefly creative arts programme will reap the benefits of this new platform which currently has support from a number of international organisations.
“We keenly anticipate the opportunity to work collaboratively with the organisers to enhance and expand the Firefly programme, creating a bright future for creative minds. The Blue Escape ACT and the Firefly partnership serves as a catalyst for harvesting the vibrant spirit and rich cultural heritage of Barbados for economic diversification.
“By bringing together young talented people, artists, entrepreneurs and industry experts, this event [will] create a [unique] environment where innovation flourishes and ideas are shared collaboratively to grow and develop the industry,” he said.
Cumberbatch added that supporting initiatives like this was an investment in the next generation of Barbadian talent, providing them with resources, mentorship, and opportunities they need to grow. “Collaboration is at the helm of our mission and we firmly believe that working together, we can create an ecosystem that nourishes growth of our cultural and creative industries,” he said.
The new festival which will run from November 10 to 12, will include three days of circus performances featuring local participants who took part in the festival’s summer programme; several other workshops; a series of mini concerts held around the island; and a main event that will feature a yet unnamed major international artist.