Let’s face it – these beautiful islands, especially the Grand Cayman, are so Americanised that at times it’s all too easy to forget the importance of the islands’ true cultural heritage,but once a year – Cayfest raises its head to remind us of the vibrant multiculturalism of the Islands’. For 3 days in February, it’s time to put away those American dollars, leave the resorts and get back to basics with a celebration of all that makes the Cayman Islands sounique.
Split over 3 days, Cayfest highlights traditional music, local artists, indie .lms, dance,visual arts and even traditional dress from the various cultures that inhabit the islands. The 2015 edition of the event will begin on February 27th with the National Arts and Culture Awards. This is a slightly low key event whose aim is to realise and reward excellence in the arts – including an award to volunteer of the year. The second day, the 28th of February, steps things up a little with the Dress for Culture day and is perhaps one of the most intriguing parts of the festival. Residents from every corner of the islands are invited to highlight their cultural roots through the medium of dress. What unravels is a veritable kaleidoscope of colours representing the unique cultures that coexist within the Cayman Islands. Expect to see island-folk in their national colours, as well traditional dress and even the odd Union Jack parading the streets. The overriding reason for the Dress for Culture day is to support the CNCF – or Cayman National Cultural Foundation – so do participate if possible!
The last day of Cayfest is the Red Sky at Night festival and is perhaps the most accessible day for visitors. Head to the Cultural Centre to see a plethora of dancers, actors,storytellers and exhibitions, which generally feature works of more than 50 local artists. If you’re a music fan then you should put aside a little time to catch some live musical performances in the evening, while film lovers will be treated to a selection of celebrated films from across the Caribbean. The event is at its most enchanting in the gardens where visitors are treated to live performances from dancers, actors and storytellers as well as creative work by local visual and crafts artists. Though the highlight, for us at least, is the mouthwatering array of local gastronomic delicacies there to try – which are enhanced even further when accompanied by the background music of steel pans, fiddles and drums.
Tickets are generally priced around $10 – $15 for the Red Sky at Night festival, with the usual discounts for seniors, youth and children. If you’re a local and would like to nominatesomeone for an award, join in Dress for Culture Day, or for more information on Red Sky at Night, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply visit www.artscayman.org for more information.