CARIFESTA XIII : Barbados promises an explosion of culture

From August 17 to 27, the 13th edition of the Caribbean Festival of Arts will take place in Barbados. About fifteen countries have already announced their participation, more than 3,000 artists and craftpeople are expected on the island. KARICULTURE.NET unveils the complete program of this great cultural celebration.


“Asserting our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves!“, it is the slogan of CARIFESTA XIII. On March 27, was officially launched the Caribbean Festival of Arts at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown, Barbados. The ceremony was broadcast live on CaribVision, the pan-Caribbean television, and on the Internet.

In a video message, CARICOM Secretary General, Ambassador Irvin LaRoque declared : We look forward to a CARIFESTA that provides more opportunities for the professional development of our artists, especially young and upcoming artists. We anticipate a festival with wider media coverage in both traditional and newer social media networks; a CARIFESTA that is better positioned to facilitate the development of our vibrant cultural, creative industries by incorporating a strong cultural marketplace within the event.”

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, who chairs the Host Country Management Committee, announced that the preparations as renovation works on buildings were well under way to welcome more than 3,000 artists and craftspeople but also tourists. 15 countries of the Caribbean such as Guadeloupe, of Latin America such as Brazil, but also Great Britain and the Barbadian diaspora in Canada have already confirmed their participation in these ten days of celebration.


An investment of BBD$ 6 million

He also said : Our mission for CARIFESTA XIII is to showcase the cultural industries as a legitimate sector of Caribbean economies; their potential and sustainability as an economic sector; and the contribution of the CARIFESTA to the development of cultural tourism in the region (…).”

Last year, the Ministry of Culture launched a logo competition and a jingle competition for the promotion of the event; a prize of BBD$ 10,000 was awarded to each of the winners.

The Government of Barbados will invest BBD$ 6 million in the organization of this major cultural event. This budget is certainly very substantial but, thanks to these thousands of visitors expected, the island expects to generate more economic activity particularly in the sectors of transport, hotel and restaurant. However, this investment is reduced compared to the BBD$ 25 million spent for CARIFESTA IV, in 1981. In fact, this is the second time that Barbados is the host country of the regional festival consequently, it has solid experience in organizing this important artistic meeting. Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname are also among the countries that have hosted the biggest festival of arts and culture in the Caribbean.


Rendezvous in four months

The first Caribbean Festival of Arts was held in 1972 in Georgetown, six years after the independence of Guyana, with the remarkable presence of the Barbadian writer George Lamming and the Guyanese poet Martin Carter, both 45-year-old, at that time. This new regional event was inspired by the Festival de Artes del Caribe (Festival of Caribbean Arts), realized in Puerto Rico in 1952 and considered the first international exhibition celebrating the Caribbean artistic creation. Some thirty Caribbean and Latin American countries participated in CARIFESTA I which lasted three weeks.

The creation of this festival was difficult but, in recent years, it takes place more regularly, every two or three years. In 1979, Cuba was the first Spanish-speaking country to organize it on its territory and the festivities lasted two weeks. In 2015, Haiti was the first French-speaking country to host the festival during ten days.

According to the Caribbean Community or CARICOM, CARIFESTA aims to:

  • depict the life of the people of the Region, their heroes, morale, myth, traditions, beliefs, creativeness, and ways of expression;
  • show the similarities and differences of the people of the Caribbean generally;
  • create a climate in which art can flourish so that artists would be encouraged to return to their homeland; and
  • awaken a regional identity in literature

So, many of us will be in Barbados in four months to take part in this great gathering that celebrates arts resulting from the intermingling of cultures and peoples from America, Europe, Africa and Asia in our Caribbean region…



CARIFESTA / Host countries

1972 : CARIFESTA I in Guyana

1976 : CARIFESTA II in Jamaica

1979 : CARIFESTA III in Cuba

1981 : CARIFESTA IV in Barbados

1992 : CARIFESTA V in Trinidad & Tobago

1995 : CARIFESTA VI in Trinidad & Tobago

2000 : CARIFESTA VII in Saint Kitts & Nevis

2003 : CARIFESTA VIII in Surinam

2006 : CARIFESTA IX in Trinidad & Tobago

2008 : CARIFESTA X in Guyana

CARIFESTA XI in The Bahamas (cancelled)

2013 : CARIFESTA XI in Surinam

2015 : CARIFESTA XII in Haiti

2017 : CARIFESTA XIII in Barbados