Two decades since the beginning of Cayfest, the National Festival of the Arts promises to highlight everything the public loves about the local arts scene. Evolved from a line-up of past events like Chalk Fest, Music Unplugged, Dance Vibes and Café Cayman, just to name a few, an integrative festival over the course of three days has emerged, and for the first time, features local and international Grammy award-winning talent.
The National Arts & Culture Awards Show kicks off the celebrations on Feb. 25. Each of the selected awardees has made significant contributions to either the development of local arts and culture or the preservation of Caymanian cultural heritage.
This year’s ceremony is a glitzy black tie affair at the Harquail Theatre attended by the twenty awardees and special invited guests. While this event is not open to the general public, it will be filmed and aired on local channel CIGTV. CIGTV will cover all the excitement at the show, showcasing red carpet fashion, the Foundation Journal book launch, behind-the-scenes footage, live performances and of course, the award presentations.
Day 2 of the festival is a cultural explosion with Dress for Culture during the day and the Cayman Islands Folk Singers in concert at the Harquail Theatre that night. Dress for Culture attracts corporate entities, students and individuals wanting to support artistic programming by wearing something that represents the place they call home.
At night, anyone with a love for music will be taken on a journey to the heart of Caymanian music with the Cayman Islands Folk Singers.
The group’s repertoire is filled with lively songs by the late great musical icon ‘Aunt’ Julia Hydes and other Caymanian kitchen band artists, along with classic folk songs from the Caribbean region.
To wrap up the Cayfest weekend, every aspect of arts and culture is on display at Red Sky at Night festival on Feb. 27.
In 2013, Cayfest combined all signature events into an eight-hour festival on the grounds of the FJ Harquail Cultural Centre. The crème de la crème of the arts community, as well as up-and-coming names, unite to create a magical atmosphere for all.
This year, the festival will present a very special feature. Two-time Grammy award-winning electro-jazz cellist, trombonist and composer Dana Leong will grace the Harquail stage for two performances. Regarded as the world’s top electric cellist, Dana is an American Musical Ambassador, Stanford University Graduate and World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader. In addition to those illustrious titles, Dana is set to work on a special musical project with Cayman’s very own Grammy award-winning producer Jason Gilbert, who will also perform on the Red Sky main stage. Together, the two Grammy winners will collaborate to produce a musical work inspired by the late Aunt Julia’s repertoire.
Red Sky event highlights include five stages featuring live bands, solo artists, rappers, poets, dance troupes and actors; Astro Avenue returns again this year with stargazing; creative stalls with handmade jewelry, craft and thatch products; local films and regional films from the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase; a special kids zone with fun educational activities; a bevvy of food vendors serving local and international cuisine, desserts and fresh juices; and finally, the newest addition, a festive backyard experience with dominoes, drinks, and local soul food named ‘Big People Place’ going late into the night.
So mark your calendars and come out to the most inclusive, longest running and biggest arts festival Cayman has to offer. Red Sky at Night, artistic delight!
Early bird tickets are on sale now at Funky Tang’s, Foster’s Food Fair (Strand), Health Care Pharmacy and the CNCF offices. Prices range from $5 – $15.
Group rates and special package deals available for anyone purchasing tickets to both Red Sky and the Cayman Islands Folk Singers in Concert.
Call 949-5477 for details or visit artscayman.org/cayfest for details.