World Creole Music Festival

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The establishment of the Dominica World Creole Music Festival by the Dominica Festivals Commission ushered in the newest music festival in the Caribbean. This festival is widely seen as one of the only truly indigenous music event in Dominica and the Eastern Caribbean by extension.

History[edit]

This festival was conceived out of a need to provide a platform for Dominican musicians and musical expressions, and to increase the island's visibility overseas. The annual World Creole Music Festival was created in 1997 as a means of boosting tourist arrivals to Dominica (during its Independence celebrations), and to increase revenue from stay-over visitors coming to the island for this celebration. The introduction of the festival was also expected to broaden Dominica's tourism product base and to promote Creole music as a major musical art form.

The World Creole Music Festival has attracted some of the most renowned musical groups and soloists from the Creole-speaking world. Groups such as Kassav, Tabou Combo, Exile One, Gramacks/New Generation, WCK, Triple Kay Global, T-Vice, First Serenade, Zouk Machine, Magnum Band, Zin, Taxi Creole, Carimi among others as well as solo artists like Ophelia Marie, Michele Henderson, Tanya St. Val, Sakis, and Francky Vincent have thrilled festival audiences over the years.

The festival in its formative years has given special focus to those musical genres that have their roots in various forms of musical fusion from the countries of the Creole-speaking world. To date, musical forms that have gained exposure and dominance at the festival include Cadence-lypso, Konpa, Zouk, Soukous, Bouyon, Zydeco (from the US state of Louisiana).In recent years, the festival has taken on a new dimension with the addition of a few fringe activities, i.e. Creole in the Park and Zouk on the River, two initiatives which encouraged participation from the local private sector.

Popularity[edit]

Since the festival is held around the time of Dominicans Independence celebrations, patrons and visitors to the island are afforded numerous opportunities to sample the local cuisine and get an appreciation of the rich cultural attributes of The Nature Island. The popularity of the festival is seen through the rapid growth in the number of patrons attracted each year since 1997, hailing from North America, the French Caribbean, the USVI's, the UK and from OECS and CARICOM countries. From an initial 10,000 paid patrons at the first production, the festival witnessed a total attendance of well over 25,000 in 1999. This has meant a subsequent increase in hotel occupancy, government taxes, visitor expenditure, and important linkages to the various sub-sectors of the tourism industry, including the restaurant, transportation, art and craft among others.

References[edit]