The Caribbean Festival of Arts, CARIFESTA XIV, will take place in Trinidad and Tobago, August 16 – 25, 2019. Under the theme “Connect, Share, Invest” artistes and artisans from twenty Caribbean nations will convene to showcase visual and literary arts, dance, music, film, theatre and fashion in a dynamic expression of creativity and talents.
CARIFESTA – Where innovative thoughts are nourished
CARIFESTA began in Guyana in 1972 as an exposition of artistic forms and cultural artefacts. Over the years it has grown and evolved.
CARIFESTA XIV is set to be a powwow of tangible and conceptual Caribbean cultural heritage and ethnology. The festival celebrates the arts as a dynamic reflection of the plurality of Caribbean people.
Its aim is to deepen Caribbean integration and unity, much needed in a region where island neighbours are often prejudged as “the other”. CARIFESTA XIV is pushing the agenda for the continued development of cultural industries and expansion of its impact on national and regional economies. As a platform of economic growth, André Hoyte at National Cultural Foundation in Barbados suggests of CARIFESTA:
“It’s necessary for the growth of emerging creatives. The Caribbean community essentially becomes the audience for testing, engaging and showcasing new creativity and most importantly, for innovative thoughts to be nourished.”
CARIFESTA – Synthesis of Caribbean creative imagination
The convergence of Caribbean people, artists and cultural practitioners to connect, exchange share ideas and invest in the growth of cultural explorations, products and exchanges is an ambitious synthesis of the creative imagination of the Caribbean.
CARIFESTA XIV is expected to generate “greater value” for artists, cultural entrepreneurs, the host country Trinidad and Tobago, participating national government agencies and CARICOM.
CARIFESTA is not without its critics. For a festival boasting a forty-six-year history, this should be no surprise. ACU|BIEN spoke to creative entrepreneurs and non-practitioners in the Caribbean and one reoccurring opinion is that the festival is “a waste a time, with no mileage in it. People come from all over the Caribbean to show off their stuff to each other. Instead, CARIFESTA should take place in the UK, North American and Asia.”
There are many who are “for”, “against” and “on the fence” in the debate about CARIFESTA’s success in achieving its objectives in its current format. There is, too, a litany of media articles, academic and multilateral agency reports and wider public opinion on extent of the success of elevating greater clusters of the Caribbean’s immensely talented and ambitious designers and creatives on to the global arena and into the minds and pockets of international lifestyle consumers. Not withstanding the expanding global footprint of many of regions recording artists, there is validity the idea of hosting CARIFESTA in international markets.
CARIFESTA XIV – Showcases, Super Concert and Street Festivals
CARIFESTA XIV will deliver about one hundred and fifty events over ten days in some thirty venues across Trinidad and Tobago. Most of the events will be FREE, althougth a ticketing system will be in place for entry. Details of the ticketing process will be available in the coming weeks.
The Grand Market will be the hub of the festival and trade booths and buyers space will offers products and services from businesses and entrepreneurs across the Caribbean. The Island Beats Super Concert on August 24th is one of the signature events and will feature top regional artistes. Machel Montano and Shaggy are already confirmed to headline.
CARIFESTA XIV is programming a packed listing of events for visitors and including Street and Theatre Festivals, Caribbean Jazz, Children’s Variety and East Indian Cultural Showcases. Also, featured will be Community Festivals, National/Country Nights, a Creative Zone, Culinary Arts, Live Music Districts, Youth Village, Steelpan Competition, Heritage Tours and Workshops. The J’Ouvert experience will be a highlight for festival goers and will offer a slice of the Caribbean Carnival culture.
“… CARIFESTA has assumed a pre-eminent place among the elements that define and give expression to the uniqueness of our Caribbean reality. Like other significant institutions such as cricket, CXC, and CARICOM that symbolize a Caribbean commonality, the Festival reinforces our unity in the midst of our splendid diversity.” [Source: CARIFESTA website]
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