Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley (FP)

A Bridgetown Cultural Festival is on the cards for next year.

This disclosure came last evening from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the launch of the Digicel Reggae Festival at the Mount Gay Visitors’ Centre, Spring Garden.

Mr. Lashley later told the Barbados Government Information Service that a committee was being set up to look at such a festival, which would feature various genres of music. He said: "It will feature jazz, a drum city and spouge, among other areas, and we will partner with private sector entities, including hotels, for the successful staging of the event."

During his address, the Minister urged sponsors to come on board and embrace the Bridgetown Cultural Festival when the details were announced.

He underscored the importance of festivals, stating that more of them should be held here. "We need to encourage the hosting of more festivals in Barbados… We want to see more of them because I believe it will help my colleague Minister [of Tourism, Richard Sealy] to encourage those visitors who come to Barbados to spend. We do have a Crop Over Festival and this year’s plans are already at an advanced stage," he noted.

Mr. Lashley lauded FAS Entertainment, the organisers of the reggae festival, pointing out that the event had assisted tremendously in boosting the cultural focus in Barbados. He stressed that such festivals, which were regional and international in nature, would help to propel the development of this island’s cultural sector.

He said he was pleased that more local artistes would be involved in this year’s festival, and encouraged them to have faith because "good things are coming".

The Minister told his audience: "We are at a very advanced stage of enacting the Cultural Industries Development Bill, which is designed to provide the foundation and support for local artistes, in particular. But, the Bill is very extensive… sometimes the local artistes suffer because of a lack of facilities and funding and this legislation is designed to ensure we can get past those hurdles."

The Digicel Reggae Festival will run from April 22 to 29.?? Some of the activities will include Reggae on the Beach at Brandon’s Beach, Spring Garden, on Sunday, April 22; the Vintage Reggae Show and Dance at the 3Ws Stand, Kensington Oval on Friday, April 27; and Reggae on the Hill on Sunday, April 29, at the Farley Hill National Park, St. Peter.


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