An artiste performs at the WCMF
An artiste performs at the WCMF

Diasporan Alick Massicott says that buying a ticket to travel home for the fest at this time without having a single idea of who the scheduled artist is, "is like making plans to go on a blind date," a statement fellow diasporan Ian Prosper agrees with.

According to the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) devotee who presently resides in Texas, for the past decade since he's been away, he usually buys his plane ticket only after the lineup is announced. However, given the delay in this year's launch, he's stuck on whether he should proceed with his festival ritual or simply skip this year altogether.

"I am conflicted," he told the Sun, "I would hate to make travel arrangements at this time not knowing who is going to perform or if the festival is still on."

"Part of me says to do it, but another part is telling me to wait some more to see if they're really going to be a strong lineup this year or if it will be a repeat of the same old artist we're used to seeing, which might be the case."

Similar comments have also been expressed by Allenna Benjamin, who revealed that she's selected her outfits for the three events since the end of April, but refused to have them shipped without knowing who the artist who is scheduled to perform at this year's show is.

"They really need to come out and tell us who is on the lineup because that is driving me insane," the young "fete-lover" stated.

Others like Malik Louis are confused as to why he's been seeing more promotions for the Carnival 2023, instead of the WCMF 2022.

"I'm a bit disappointed because we did not have the festival for two years, so I certainly do believe that by now we should be getting some type of update of what we can expect, who the artist is, the cost for the tickets because October is almost here," he told the Sun. Unreleased DFC survey

In previous years, by mid-June to July, the Dominica Festival Committee (DFC) would have already launched the event which has become a staple on the independence calendar.

When questioned on why the lineup has yet to be announced, a source closely linked to the planning committee pointed to a change of management with many of the Kompa bands.

"It's been a bit difficult getting in contact with them, so that has caused a few delays" the individual who spoke to the Sun on the usual condition of anonymity stated. "Nevertheless this year promises to be great."

While breaking the news of the return of the festival back in April, Minister for Tourism, Denis Charles, revealed that a survey will soon be launched to get the public engaged with regard to the selection of the bands and artists they would like to see play at this year's festival.

"We will be trying a different approach for more public engagement in the decision making," Charles stated. "Behind the wheels, we are already putting our plans in place… finalising."

Attempts made by the Sun to speak to DFC officials on the public survey as well as the lineup were unsuccessful. Heeding the advice of health officials, in 2020, the tourism minister announced the cancellation of the three nights of "pulsating rhythms" which is known to attract a large number of patrons from across the region and returning Dominicans.

At the time, she highlighted the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason for calling off what would have been the 22nd edition of the festival.

In 2021, prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit, during his weekly programme, revealed that the cabinet had set aside 400 thousand dollars for the staging of WCMF which would feature only local artists, but that too had to be canceled due to an upsurge in local COVID-19 cases.

First held in October 1997, the festival was launched to complement Dominica's annual Independence Celebrations, promote the Dominican tourism product, and create a world-class platform for indigenous Dominican music.

The now renowned staple event on the regional music gala calendar typically features an array of unique music from across the globe including Dance Hall, Zouk, Reggae, Soca, Soukous, Kompa, and Calypso, to name a few.

The event features three nights of music – from dusk to dawn – during the last weekend in October.

At the time of press on Monday, August 8th, no announcement had been made on when the festival would officially be launched.