On or Off
What is the status of the World Creole Music Festival ?
COVID-19, the on-going pandemic, has killed many people and events; it may have killed the 22nd World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) carded for the end of October.
But, three months before the event, the Government of Dominica has not announced its plans for WCMF-2020.
The tourists-attracting WCMF celebrates French-Caribbean music genres including Dominica's indigenous Cadence-lypso and propulsive Bouyon, Zouk from neighbouring Guadeloupe and Martinique and Haitian Kompa. Reggae, Dance Hall and Soca are also prominently featured in the annual three-day music festival.
The SUN spoke to a number of persons closely associated with the festival and asked whether WCMF 2020 should be on or should it be called off.
Here are their views:
McCarthy Marie: Economist, hotelier, music producer
"We should not have a Creole Festival for 2020 for two main reasons. (First) we have not yet started to advertise yet which means that we are late. The other thing is that the places that we would expect spectators to come, not including Dominica, we see that the virus is at its peak, like in the United States. I doubt that we want to take the chance and bring people to Dominica and put them in an enclosed place.
"We don't have what it takes to quarantine the amount of people. Also if at all (the WCMF is held), the turn out will be rather low. The economy out (there) is bad and the transportation to get into Dominica is also a major issue."
Peter Letang: Band leader, Swingin' Stars and Music Lovers Government Band
"I don't think that Dominica can host a 2020 World Creole Music Festival. We should have something, like a local menu".
Cecil Joseph: Manager Dominica Broadcasting Corporation (DBS radio)
"I have a twofold answer and it is yes and no. The date of the festival is good for us since it's our independence. I would ask for all the local bands to come together for the three nights. Sunday Religious; Saturday Compa and then Bouyon.
"Those coming in will have to observe social distancing. The cost per night will increase because you have fewer people.
"The no is you have less people and there are hot spots like the United States. So I would say no. But my yes is 80 percent to include our arts. We can also offer it online at a cost to people".
Cornell Phillip: Music producer, band leader
"We have not heard anything and I hope we don't. I am against it. From an economic stand point I don't think it can work and also as a nation, we need to be responsible for each other and I don't think we can be safe with the large crowds. We have to celebrate but it should be on a local level".
Gerald George: Music lover, agent of event sponsor
"I don't think we should have the creole festival but have something local. We are opening our borders and as sponsors we will miss the big stage. We need to look at something local for the independence. If DFC has to engage any band and or artiste it will be costly since they have to be quarantined. Something local would be good (even) if not live."
Ian Jackson: Song writer, art and entertainment columnist
"I will say no given what is happening in Guadeloupe, Martinique. It's already not sustainable. We can't compromise our health and well-being.
"We should have a praise festival and dedicate our lives to God. We are opening our borders and I know we will see a spike. School is also an issue. So why should we have a creole festival?
"I don't think a crowd can be controlled when music is being played so I say no to this local. As a Christian I think Dominica needs a praise festival. No festival for 2020".