Cayfest 2010 review

The Cayfest 2010 ran from 5 April
to 1 May and covered a wide spectrum of events.

The festival included several
events from the Easter Catboat Regatta, the official opener ofthe
annual festival at West Bay Road Public Beach, to Chalkfest at Camana Bay,
which closed out the four weeks of festivities.

The Easter Regatta has traditionally
been one of the staples of Caymanian social events and many came out to try to
re-capture the glory days of the Cayman Catboat. This year’s event was old
versus new, as the majestic catboats raced each other against a backdrop of
mega cruise ships in George Town Harbour. The event was juxtaposed with the
super-speedboats of the Million Dollar Run, also racing that day.

Culture Jam, at Camana Bay on 9
April, showcased a variety of local talent from Patrick Lopez’s floetry to ethnic
drumming from Randy Chollette, Eden Hurlstone, Damion Thaxter and Kirk Rowe.

Music Unplugged, on 13 April, was
held at the Harquail Theatre and judging from the response of the audience,
this newcomer to the Cayfest menu could be considered the jewel of the

Samuel Rose delivered a flawless
rendition of the National Song on violin and this was followed by the welcome address
from the Premier, McKeeva Bush.

The audience was entertained by The
North Side Kitchen Band but it was 101-year-old ‘Aunt’ Julia Hydes, who
displayed a witty sense of humor which brought the theatre alive. In beating
rhythm to her drum, she sang as the audience cheered.  Her performance was remarkable for an
individual of her age.

The programme continued with the
debut of the National Folk Choir, which had been formed only two months prior,
with a mission to help preserve Cayman’s folk music.

Henry Muttoo, Artistic Director of
the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, said: “The purpose of the Folk Choir
is to preserve Cayman’s folk music for future generations; it is a critical
aspect of Cayman’s history, for many individuals might forget the songs that
helped to build these islands and for many it is yet to be discovered.” 

The choir rehearsed and performed
under the musical directorship of Phillip Manyeh, echoing the voices of Caymanian
forefathers for all to hear.   Much to
the choir’s delight, Mr. Bush used this opportunity to announce his patronage
and sponsorship of the National Folk Choir, which he said had been a dream of
his for many years.

The Photography Competition and
Exhibition opened on 14 April. The event attracted more than 400 entries, which
challenged the judges to narrow the field down to finalists and the eventual
winners in each category.

Granny Backyard Serves Bush Tea,
filmed at the historic Bodden Town Mission House in conjunction with the National
Trust, was aired on local television on 14 April and repeated on 28 April.

The event gave viewers a glimpse into
the lives of the various residents of the Mission House, spanning two centuries.
Actors, in period dress, played out the scenes and demonstrated the use of
local bush teas, such as fever grass, providence mint and basil.

30 years experience in the offshore financial industry, Sheree Ebanks’s
personal interests in photography, theatre and music, meant that she was well-qualified
to deliver this year’sDistinguished Lecture titled The symbiotic relationship between
the Arts and Businessin the Cayman Islands.  Mrs. Ebanks concluded that arts and business
need each other to survive. The function was held at ‘Mind’s Eye Intuitive Art
Centre’ on 15 April.

Dance Vibes,another Cayfest regular feature was held at the Harquail Theatre
on 17 April. The show highlighted numbers from Cayman’s top dancer companies
and dancers including Barnes Dance Academy, KRI, Dance Unlimited, Dances of the
World and Evelyn Robaina.  These groups
and individuals performed and wowed the sold-out crowd. Dance Vibes promises to
be back even bigger and better next year.

Special emphasis was placed on the
youth and youth-related activities for Cayfest 2010. Young Image Makers Short
Film Competition,which was a new
feature this year, attracted a high calibre of entries from Cayman’s up and
coming filmmakers and directors. Twenty-one of the winning short films,
produced by 10-15 year old students, premiered at the Harquail Theatre on
Sunday, 18 April.

The red-carpet event had all the
flair and excitement of a film festival. The Minister of Youth and Culture,
Mark Scotland, delivered the key note address. Young people were encouraged to
dream big and to pursue those dreams.

Cayfest On Air presents ISABELwas broadcast on Radio Cayman, 19-23 April
and 26-30 April, the Caymanian play by Patricia Bent was broadcast nightly to

Young at Arts Gimistory, on 21
April, further highlighted just how many talented and versatile youngsters
there are, eager to share their skills. 
The fun and energetic event was held atElizabethan Square and included a traditional fish and fritters
cookout on the caboose. Gallons of swanky were served to quench the thirsts of
attendees and the event was free to the public.


Arguably the best attended Cayfest
functionwas Praise,which was described by Chairman of the
CNCF Board, Martyn Bould, as one of his favourite Cayfest events.

Held in the grounds of the Governor’s
Residence on 24 April; Praise attracted choirs, musical groups, dance groups
and soloists from various churches around the Island.

Every year one of the most
anticipated components of Cayfest is FRESH! Cayman Couture and this year was no
exception. On 25 April the Harquail Theatre took on the look and feel of a haute
couture fashion show.

 International designer, Sushma Patel displayed
her Romance in the Skies line, which was modelled by some of Cayman’s
best-known models.  Caymanian designers
and models were afforded the opportunity to get up close with a renowned.

Cayfest would not have been
complete without an element of theatre. Frank McField’s play – One White One
Black- had its run at the Studio Theatre from 29 April to 1 May.  In this intimate setting, theatregoers felt
as if they were a part of the cast and the added feature of having the
playwright in attendance and on hand for a discussion after the show, made this
a special event for theatre buffs.

Both the Historical Treasure Hunt,
held in conjunction with the Department of Tourism and the Chalkfest
competition, held in partnership with National Gallery, brought Cayfest 2010 to
a close on Saturday, 1 May. 

Running concurrently with the
activities on Grand Cayman, Cayfest Sister Islands experienced an encouraging
comeback with events such as the Prayer Breakfast on 5 April, Brac Culture Jam
on 10 April, Brac Praise on 16 April, Granny Bracyard at West End Park and the
Spirit of Cayfest Competition on 26 April. 

Cayfest’s Sister Islands’ festivities
culminated in a variety concert at the Aston Rutty Centre on 1 May. The show included
many features from the Grand Cayman shows, which were performed and displayed alongside
the Brac’s offerings to make for a memorable event.

Analysis and discussions are
already underway to determine how to improve on and increase the repertoire of
next year’s Cayfest.