Cayfest goes on despite Ivan

This year’s national cultural festival, Cayfest, will take place next week despite severe set-backs from Hurricane Ivan.

And the event will kick-start with a benefit concert to raise funds for Harquail Theatre – which was severely damaged during the storm – as well as Cayman Hospice Care.

Cayfest is a showcase of traditional and contemporary Caymanian Culture, celebrating the performing, literary and visual arts.

Organised by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, this year’s festival will be considerably downsized, however, due to the lack of suitable venues available as a result of storm damage.

The foundation’s offices at the Harqail Theatre were also severely affected by the hurricane, making it a huge challenge to get this year’s Cayfest off the ground.

‘We really did get a bad hit from Ivan, there was five feet of water in my office,’ explained Roberta Bostock, the foundation’s Director of Marketing and Public Education.

With no computers or printers, staff and volunteers had to start all over again, relocating to offices in Elizabethan Square, Georgetown.

They lost a lot of materials but fortunately the collection by local artist Miss Lassie was saved.

Against all the odds, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation was able to stage Gimistory, a popular annual story-telling festival, in November, to the delight of islanders and visitors.

And, determined not to be overcome by the difficulties posed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, everybody at the Cayman National Cultural Foundation has worked hard to ensure Cayfest will also go ahead.

The festival gets off the ground Saturday 16 April with a performance by American-based classical pianist Heather Schmidt.

The god-daughter if Cayman resident Dr Elaine Campbell, Heather has received international recognition through performances, broadcasts commissions and awards in North America, South America and Europe.

The following evening, Heather will be joined by cellist Shauna Rolston.

One of Canada’s most celebrated musicians, Shauna has been captivating audiences with her passion for music since the age of two.

‘Her work is breathtaking, powerful, intimate and pure,’ said Roberta.

Another feature of this year’s Cayfest

is the most recent in the series of distinguished lectures, which will feature LeRoy Clarke, renowned Trinidadian artist and poet.

Mr. Clarke is viewed by many as one of the great painters of this century, depicting raw and energetic imagery designed to stir and inspire his audience.

He is also a published poet and educator, who has been honoured for his work by the Trinidad and Tobago Government and CARICOM.

Mr. Clarke follows in the footsteps of such notable artists as Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott; Professor Rex Nettleford; Earl Lovelace; carnival design genius, Peter Minshall; and Cayman’s own Leonard Dilbert, all of whom have given their time to inspire Cayman through the popular distinguished lecture series.

The lecture this year will be held on 19 April at the University College of the Cayman Islands.

Other events to look out for are the popular Cayfest Caboose culinary show that will air on Daybreak courtesy of CITN from 18-22 April.

This show gives expert tips on cooking popular Caymanian dishes.

The Art Exhibition & Sale and Photography Exhibition will be held at Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre from 18-23 April with a special public opening at 7pm on the 18th with wine and light refreshments.

On the 20th, a cultural symposium broadcast on Radio Cayman at 12.15pm will be discussing ‘The Artist in Caymanian Society’.

That same evening the winners of the literary arts’ competition will read their winning pieces at the new South Sound Park.

Café Cayman, the popular outdoor exposition of local arts and crafts, cuisine and music, will fill Goring Avenue from 10:30am – 2:30pm on the 21st.

At 7pm curl up to Granny Backyard to air on Island 24 (channel 9) and listen to stories of Back To The Old Days With Ivan.

Culture Jam will rock the house at Hard Rock Café on the 22nd.

Everyone is welcome to strut their stuff from 5:30-9pm, ‘Whether it be a song, poetry, music, jokes, or juggling – bring your talent to the table,’ said Roberta.

The week closes with Chalkfest, organized by the National Gallery at Cardinal Avenue, from 8-11am, where drawing on the pavement becomes art.

Finally, praise this year will be hosted by the Governor Bruce and Mrs. Dinwiddy at the Governor’s residence at 7pm.

‘Come and rejoice with the churches of Cayman as we celebrate all we have to be thankful for,’ said Roberta.

Bracfest will be run simultaneously 23 April with a special showing of this year’s Rundown.