Cayman Arts Fest a success

Organisers of Cayman Arts Fest were
happy with this year’s event, labelling it a ‘humungous success’.

Co-directors Glen Inanga and
Jennifer Micallef are currently recovering after the nine-day event that this
year had a distinct focus on education and youth.

Inanga said that the festival had
worked out very well.

“My initial reaction is of pure joy
that it’s come together and had the desired effect I was after. The local
context is something I’ve been very passionate about,” he said.

Young talent

Two events in particular were set
up this year to enable the young talent of Cayman to shine. Rising Stars
showcased many of Cayman’s young musicians, while youth2youth brought together
the renowned Immaculate Conception school orchestra with 25 of their Caymanian
counterparts for a cross-sea collaboration. Inanga was pleased with the

“I particularly enjoyed the Rising
Stars and youth2youth events as the feedback we got from the pupils and the
staff was great,” he said. “It gave an opportunity for these kids to perform –
some had never played in a symphony orchestra before. It established links
going forward and the cross-fertilization of cultures was fantastic.

“Words cannot express how grateful
we are to the general public for supporting us.”


Sonic problems

Rising Stars will remain a part of
future arts fests, according to the co-director. It was held at the Recreation
Centre at Cayman International School,
a venue that presented some challenges as it doubles as a gymnasium. Mr. Inanga
said that the sound engineers Hopscotch did ‘a great job’ but in the future
they would look at putting more drapes up around the venue to avoid sonic problems
such as echo.

“It was very successful in terms of
what the students got from it,” Inanga said. “We’d never focussed on young
people performing before, which was a major difference from previous festivals.
The platform time we gave to young people showed our commitment to education.
It made a real impression on people and many said it was inspiring for them.”


The turnout for the events was
around 80 per cent of the previous years’ figures, although official figures
have not as yet been finally confirmed, Inanga said.

“I’m not as disappointed about it
as many might think we are and it got better as the festival went along. This
time we were aware of many things happening at the same time in Cayman and
there’s only so much you can do in terms of dates.

“The turnout was excellent given
all the other activities going on. The support from the community at large as
well as the business community was fantastic. But we try not to judge just by
the figures – we try and judge by the effect on the kids and what they get from
it. They’re the future and it gives them a chance to see how far they can take
music,” he added.

Co-director Jennifer Micallef said
that the festival had been established in a short time this year, due in part
to the financial climate.

“Really and truly it came together
in three months, initially most sponsors declined to be part of the festival.
It was only around November that we tried a second time – we were very lucky to
have a very strong board who were adamant that we were going to do a festival
no matter what,” she said.

Inanga said he feels that not
enough is being done for the young people on Cayman and already plans are in
place to discuss the next festival’s events.

“We always try and challenge the
audience here in Cayman and not put things on that are standard. It’s not just
classical music or jazz, it has to be creative and capture the minds of the
people and particularly young people who may not have the opportunity to
travel. For them to see something like that in front of them was fantastic.”


The Rainer Hersch event, said
Inanga, was a good example of bringing someone in who was able to communicate
information. Hersch’s performance, All Classical Music Explained, talked the
audience through various aspects of performance, classical music and opera in a
light-hearted, humorous and informative way.

Within the next fortnight a
debriefing session amongst organisers will lead to a firmer idea of what the
next festival will include. There are also to be discussions with this year’s
sponsors. Miss Micallef said that 2012’s concerts were already in the planning

“I have already put together a
proposal but it needs updating – some events are OK, but some are already too
expensive. We need a spectrum of diverse events as well as music – in the past
we’ve had dance, opera, gospel and we are looking to include more theatre, for
example, to give the arts festival a different dimension,” she said.

Micallef said the event couldn’t
have been produced without the financial backing of the sponsors and the help
from volunteers.

 “All the artists loved it too and there were
no complaints, thank God,” she concluded.

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