The festival’s official activities, which would focus heavily on “mas, music and fun”, are slated to begin on 21st July, 2011 with a grand launch and the Junior Kaiso Contest and would culminate on 2nd August, 2011, with the Cultural Street Parade and Last Lap Jam.
Chairman of the Culturama 2011 Committee, Mr. Halstead ‘Sooty’ Byron, and Manager of the Festival’s Secretariat, Mr. Antonio ‘Abonaty’ Liburd, recently spoke during a televised interview with the NIA’s Information Department and explained the changes which would take effect this year.
Commenting on one of the changes for the festival, Chairman Byron said, “The Mr. Kool Competition is back,” and he further explained that a large number of patrons had “for quite some time” been requesting that the once well-attended competition be placed back on the schedule of activities.
“What we do from year to year, we listen to the comments, criticisms, suggestions of our patrons, visitors and locals alike and we try to see where we can improve on the festival, where we can make changes, be innovative and creative, where we can bring new shows or repeat old shows and events.
“Since 2008 when we took a decision to suspend the Mr. Kool Competition, we have had quite a large number of patrons, especially young ladies, on our backs saying they want the Mr. Kool show,” he explained.
The competition would, this year, be twinned with the Ms. Culture Swimwear Contest at the Nevis Cultural Complex on 24thJuly.
Five days later, on a Friday evening as opposed to the usual Saturday evening, the island’s top calypsonians would compete in the annual Senior Kaiso Finals.
The change, which Mr. Bryon said, may be considered controversial, was needed to maximise the support of the calypsonians.
“What we have found is that at 7:00 [pm] when you are ready to shut off the [Cultural] Food Fair, there are hundreds of people on the grounds still wanting to continue the action to the extent where we, most times, get off to a late start of the [Senior] Calypso Show and the fact is that a number of those same persons who would have been at the Food Fair cannot come back to the Calypso Show,” he explained.
In light of the change, the Department of Agriculture’s Fruit Festival would precede the Senior Kaiso Finals on 29th July and the Cultural Food Fair would commence at 7:00 am on 30th July and end at 12 midnight.
The all-day event would feature local entertainment and lead into “a true celebration of Emancipation” with the staging of an Emancipation Concert that evening.
“We want to use this particular night of the Food Fair from 8:00 or so to showcase our people [and] our culture; in the true sense of African Liberation [to] celebrate Emancipation because as you know, Emancipation Day is really the 1st of August and so that night would be dedicated to that,” Mr. Byron said.
The evening concert, he added, would feature “lot of acts from St. Kitts-Nevis.”
“We are also looking at featuring at least one major act from outside,” he stated.
Other activities that form part of the line-up are the Senior Kaiso Semi Finals; King of de Jungle Sound and Band Clash; Ms. Caribbean Culture and Ms. Culture Queen Pageants; Mr. and Ms. Talented Youth Pageant; Rhythmz Dance Theatre Production; Culturama Drag Racing; Emancipation J’ouvert Jump Up; Culturama Horse Races; J’ouvert Kool Down; St. George and St. John Caribbean and International Food Fair and the Culturama 2011 Prize Giving Ceremony.
(Major portions of this article were incorporated from a NIA press release)