– This Saturday!
IMAGINE this – the smell of roast meat tickling your nose, a bonfire flickering in the background, live music resonating in your bones, so much so, that you can’t help but to tap your feet or shake your hips under a blanket of stars painted across the skies of the Rupununi grasslands, all while sipping a nice cold Banks Beer or Shandy.
This exact scenario, says local rock and folk musician Gavin Mendonca, has been something to look forward to over the years at the Rupununi Music and Arts Festival which had its first two editions in 2014 and 2015 at Rock View Lodge, Annai. The festival then brought a taste of the event to Georgetown in 2017 and 2019, all the while finding a marvellous new home in 2018 at Manari Ranch, where the festival was planned last November. “The only World Music Camping
Festival in Guyana – it takes young and old out of the busy city life and away from technology for a weekend – to camp and live under the stars with new friends,” Gavin said.
Due to COVID-19, these plans were all scrapped. Life for musicians, creatives and festival goers was turned upside down, and this festival, along with every other major social event around the entire world was just shut down. “What a blow to society that has been – since events like festivals serve many purposes especially when it comes to fostering community, preserving culture and the various art forms, as well as offering people a human experience like none other.” With the option to host a live festival this year out of the picture, the festival team could not just let the year end without doing anything, especially since every year the festival has been able to create some amazing memories over the years. Gavin, who is the festival’s Programme Director and an artiste himself, said with this in mind, the festival team decided to host a special virtual edition of the festival on December 20 from 16:00hrs-18:00hrs. The festival will consist of highlights from previous years and showcase
performances from local and international artistes, including Dave Martins, The Mighty Gabby, Keith Waithe, Tujay, and Iryna who is from Ukraine.
This launch event will also feature interviews with Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett (Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations), Frank Willisen (TGA), Carlton Joao (Banks DIH) and others, as well as special tributes to two dearly departed patrons – Diane McTurk, also known as ‘Mother of the Otters’ of Karanambu Lodge and George Simon – world-renowned painter and archaeologist and founder of the Moving Circle of Artists.
The event will stream from 16:00hrs sharp on the festival’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page and will have a special donate button so that persons can contribute to the festival. The donations will go directly to local and indigenous creatives for further online programmes.
“Join us – ‘go like the Facebook page’, subscribe to Rupununi Music and Arts Festival on YouTube, and join in on a wonderful trip down memory lane, and join in the prayers to be back at Manari Ranch in November 2021. Visit www.rupununifestival.com for more info,” Gavin urged.