Rupununi Festival begins – with focus on eco-tourism, cultural exchange

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The Mighty Gaby from Barbados

THE second annual Rupununi Music and Arts festival commenced yesterday and will conclude on Sunday at the Rockview Lodge in Annai, Rupununi Region nine.The activity which began in the evening surrounds an environmental adventure, where patrons were able to explore the beautiful sceneries of the country.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples' Affairs, Sydney Allicock
Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock

It’s an eco-oriented event, which features overseas based artistes.

Those attending the event would include Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock; Minister within the Ministry of Communities Dawn Hasting; Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson; Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes and other special invitees.
The activity is a feature of the Tourism Ministry’s annual calendar of events which is geared towards benefitting the indigenous peoples of the Rupununi. The event is being hosted in the interest of the residents, and will also see a display of the items that are produced locally.
The festival caters for approximately 600 villagers, in addition to 300 visitors flying into the Region for the event. The ecological scenery will be disrupted by a mixture of solo and group performances; blues, jazz, folk, Indian, African and contemporary pop will be staged.
Expected to perform are the Mighty Gaby from Barbados and a band of five from Brazil, amongst others.
Minister Allicock said tourism has been identified as a sector that can foster development by attracting overseas visitors to experience the unique atmosphere of the Rupununi. “The festival is a wonderful addition to the community-based tourism methods and this will help to promote the Rupununi since the Ministry of Tourism will be focusing on new packages which will showcase Guyana,” Minister Allicock noted.
He said this will bring economic growth to the communities while creating jobs and opportunities “to share with others our way of life and to exploit the great potential of the regions without much harm.” Allicock said this event is ideal to showcase nature and what a beautiful country Guyana really is.
He said that the potential of this festival is enormous and he believes it can become the most popular music event of culture in the Caribbean. This festival, he said, creates business opportunities, as well as more awareness of products and services offered by Guyanese that can be marketed to the international community.
It also increases travel between Guyana and its South American neighbours, and promotes tourism. Underscoring the fact that Guyana has become a key destination for tourism in the Caribbean, Minister Allicock said that an event of this nature remains a challenge by any standard, and the fact that it has succeeded as well as it has so far would not have been possible without the dedication and passion that has been placed into such a cultural experience.
The Minister added that the Government will commit and play its part in making the Rupununi Music and Arts Festival the reason persons would wish to visit the Caribbean, and urged members of the Private Sector to join the movement.
Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes had noted that her Ministry is “throwing its weight” behind the promotion of this festival and thinks that this time around, it will be bigger and better than it was last year.
She said this festival will highlight and strengthen a very important branch of Guyana’s tourism industry and that is the ‘Rupununi brand’.
Minister Hughes also mentioned that the Rupununi brand is complemented by events such as the Rupununi Rodeo, Wildlife Festival, the South Rupununi Safari, among others, and that as Guyanese, we should strive to maintain and strengthen our own country and realise its potential and all it has to offer and not take it for granted.

By Rabindra Rooplall in Rupununi