St. John’s Antigua- Organisers of the upcoming inaugural Caribbean Arts, Literature and Music Festival are aiming to make it an international affair, the likes of Antigua Sailing Week or the St Lucia Jazz Festival.
Set for December 17 and 18 is the event – “Yuletide Pantasee: Life in the Keys of Pan,” which is to showcase school and church bands on the Saturday and community/conventional and pan jazz bands on the Sunday.
“We want this festival to become a premiere internationally attended festival,” chief co-ordinator Marjorie Beazer told OBSERVER Entertainment.
With Beazer at the helm as chairperson, the organising committee has been hard at work conceptualising and developing the logistics, content, production, media, protocol, and other aspects of the festival. Other members include Joe Martin – promotions; Norris Morris Harris – facilities; Stafford Joseph – pan liaison and Dornalyn Beazer – public relations.
In the plan for the two-night event are three components Marjorie explained.
“The first is our Yuletide Pantasee pan concert December the 17th and 18th. As a component of that, both days, we’re going to have what we’re calling a Christmas Village,” she said.
“It’s going to feature everything from face-painting, to Santa Clause; we’re going to do the tree-lighting, balloons for the children; vendors are going to bring out their wares and we’re also, as a component, planning a multi-cultural food fair.”
She said this one would be centred on traditional Christmas dishes of participating countries, and invitations have already been extended to 20 different nations, including the Syrian and Chinese communities.
The venue earmarked for this planned cultural extravaganza is the historic Redcliffe Quay, in the two parking lots near to Australian Homemade.
“All of the steelbands that are going to be playing, all of the music is going to be Yuletide Christmastime music; that’s going to be the entire scene,” Marjorie said.
“On one side we’re going to have our events venue and on the other side we’re going to have our Christmas village… and we’re weaving in arts and literature component in between sets.
“We’ll have a stand-up comedian, we’ll have singers, we’ll have dancers and so we’re going to weave the arts and literature component into the concert, even though they’re not the main, they’re going to be woven throughout the entire thing.”
The chief organiser noted that the aim of the festival is to showcase national culture and in effect preserve our heritage.
“Also, it generates jobs, stimulates our economy creates a sense of personal pride, national pride and so all of those things are just value added in terms of creating a healthy community that we then give as a gift to our children going forward,” she said.
“At this point, we are taking steps to get partners on board to support this important work.”
The organising committee has planned several activities to create excitement and build momentum for the grand event, the first of which is scheduled for tonight, beginning at 8 o’clock. Dubbed “Fibrey” Night Live, this event at Redcliffe Quay is to feature sneak peaks of talent that will be performing at the main event in December.
Next Friday, the action heads to Darkwood Beach for the Starlight Bonfire. This one targets the 25-plus crowd and focuses on reviving the fun filled “Guy Fawkes”-inspired starlight celebration, the organiser said.
A bonfire is set for December 2, Pigeon Point English Harbour. The goal of the activity at this venue is to get the word out regarding the upcoming pan concert while generating needed funds from vending activities.
Barbuda has not been left out, as the action heads over to Codrington on December 9 for an event called CALMing Yourself on the Block.
On December 16, the Cutting Edge band, featuring pan virtuoso Aubrey “Lacu” Samuel is due to launch its Pan Jazz CD at the Fibrey venue or Pan City.