‘Is We Ting!’ is set for Sunday
The show, consisting of local talents only will stream live from 4 PM.
The show, consisting of local talents only will stream live from 4 PM.

– to feature an impressive line-up of local artistes

THE Rupununi Music and Arts festival will be hosting a special ‘Total Local’ virtual edition of its iconic concert this Sunday. The event is poised to feature all local artistes, providing a platform for them to maintain creative exposure to not only their local fans, but also among an international audience as well.

The festival, which, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, was a highly-anticipated show, will also provide an avenue for local artistes to capitalise on an income, at a time when physical events are almost non-existent.

“Is We Ting!” premiers live from 4 p.m. sharp on Facebook and YouTube. It will feature performances from a number of captivating local artistes such as Trevaun Selman, Tujay, the Poet, Gavin & Chucky, Herbie Marshall and Keith Campbell, A/TayJAH, as well as performances from the Rupertee Cultural Group, and a number of Guyanese living abroad, including ‘Rawle The Doll’ and international Roots/Reggae artiste, Arkaingelle.

One of the performances will be by the Rupertee Cultural Group.

Going strong for seven years now, the festival, birthed at Rock View Lodge, Annai in 2014, is an outdoor camping music event that usually takes place on the savannah of the Amazon for three days – Friday to Sunday. It has been a routine event for those who are particularly enthralled by the wonders of nature.

“When the pandemic hit, though it put a strain on the Arts and the Cultural and Creative Industries. Live music and entertainment was totally cancelled for the first time, and this significantly impacted society and artists alike,” one of the organisers and performer Gavin Mendonca said during an engagement with the Buzz this week.

Determined to keep the festival alive, he noted that he and the other organisers – Bob Ramdhanie, Denis DeAgrella and Luke Johnson – immediately started to think of ways to continue to host the festival in a safe way.

“And so, the concept of virtual festivals was born. Since December 2020, the team has been hosting bi-monthly virtual editions of the festival on their Facebook page and YouTube channel,” Mendonca explained.

The festival is said to offer more than just entertainment, with the organisers often referring to it as an all-in-one treat for the nature and music lovers. Over the past years, the festival has captured the attention of many who see it as having the potential of becoming “de tourism product” that the country has to offer when it comes to adventure tourism, entertainment and cultural preservation.

As such, the intention, according to the organisers, is to develop a dedicated festival site in the Rupununi – an iconic and future-facing cultural space. They see this becoming a reality, owing to the support from a series of tangible partnerships that have been established over the years with the government, private sector, local and international volunteers, among others.

The concept is to create an environmentally sustainable, eco-friendly ‘benab-style’
village which could possibly feature a main performance stage (thatched); flexible spaces to accommodate meetings and small performance; an area for camping using (benabs, tents and yurts etcetera; seating areas outfitted with stalls for food, arts and crafts; and a major central dome with local plants, flowers and sculptured totem poles – a breath-taking, eco-haven created using locally sourced materials and labour.

“The Rupununi is a most beautiful area of Guyana and establishing a permanent base there would highlight the region as a destination site and put Guyana solidly on the map for both cultural and experiential arts, culture and tourism,” Bob Ramdhanie had said in a previous interview with the Buzz.

“We see ourselves as enablers, not just in the cultural arena but also within training, youth development, promoting high-quality Guyanese arts and crafts; collectively wishing to take Guyanese culture to new places globally; also bring to Guyana new arts and musical experiences,” he added. Persons can visit www.rupununifestival.com to learn more and find links to watch the stream this Sunday.


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