Carifesta XIII – Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating OurSelves



The Hon. Stephen A. Lashley, M.P., Minister Of Culture, Sports and Youth

Caribbean culture has moved from providing national and regional cohesion, to exciting an entire world with its products and its diversity. CARIFESTA represents for us that special time when we celebrate our culture, our unique practices, customs and expressions that define us as a people. In this 13th edition, it also represents a time when we strategically share our culture with the rest of the world.

To ensure the success of CARIFESTA XIII, we established a Steering Committee in September 2014. This was followed by the establishment of the Host Country Management Committee which has been meeting over the last 18 months to prepare for this great Caribbean Event. The Committee comprises representatives from various Government institutions and national organisations, and is charged with overseeing that all logistics are in place to facilitate the hosting of the Festival. This includes venues, accommodation, immigration, customs, hospitality, emergency services, safety, transportation etc.

The theme of CARIFESTA XIII is “Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves”, and the programme of performing arts (music, theatre, dance, poetry); visual arts, fashion, food and literature, will represent a pot pourri of cultural expression from all participating CARICOM countries.

Barbados sought to be the host of CARIFESTA XIII at this time, as we have in the last two years put in place instruments and mechanisms to position the cultural industries as strategic platform for economic growth. And since CARIFESTA represents the world’s largest gathering of Caribbean arts and culture, it is an ideal time to leverage Barbados’ infrastructural strength to assist with the development and promotion of the region’s cultural industries.

To that end, a new component has been added to the tradition of CARIFESTA, which will feature the exhibition and sale of cultural goods and services in a marketplace atmosphere, to which international buyers have been invited. The Caribbean’s first mega-mall, exclusively featuring only Caribbean creative products, will be a key element in the CARIFESTA XIII programme. We encourage all cultural industries practitioners, all artists, not just those selected to be part of the national delegation, to take the opportunity to participate in the Caribbean mega-mall, as we seek to ensure wide distribution and sale of our cultural products.

There will also be space allocated for events staged by persons and organisations other than official delegations providing room for private participation within CARIFESTA XIII. So we urge you to register early if you want to participate, so that you can be scheduled on the programme, and take advantage of booking early accommodation.
We are well on the way in our preparations of venues, and the famous Kensington Oval has been chosen for the Opening and Closing ceremonies. Legacy venues which were created or seriously upgraded when Barbados first hosted CARIFESTA some 36 years ago in 1981, such as The Combermere School and Queens Park Steel Shed, Gallery and Theatre, will also be choice venues for performing arts events. The modern gymnasium, named after our sporting great The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, is also being upgraded for our regional celebration.
We look forward to hosting you in Barbados come August, 2017, starting with the opening ceremony on August 18th, followed by more than a week of artistic and cultural activity.