Reflections on Carifesta XIII – Part 2

Carifesta is chaos!

This is not a criticism. Certainly not a boast. Just fact.

Carifesta is chaos!

It shouldn’t be. But it is.

I have come to terms with this between my first active participation in Carifesta in St. Kitts in 2000 and last week, the end of Carifesta XIII in my homeland, Barbados.

Recently, a friend posited that as the Caribbean was born out of chaos and trauma, that which we produce will be fraught with the same chaos. That, to some, extent chaos (kin to spontaneity?) is we culture.

It is easy to accept this argument, and I have… at least 75% of the time. Suspension of disbelief is necessary if I am to enjoy what Carifesta is rather than focus on what it isn’t. This is, in effect, my coping mechanism: I don’t expect too much (by way of organisation) therefore I’m hardly ever disappointed. And sometimes overwhelmingly pleasantly surprised.

Clearly this festival isn’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but in the midst of the chaos that is Carifesta, I always find moments to cherish:

My Carifesta XIII highlights:

  • Dancing through Broad Street as part of the official Parade! Waving at crowds interested enough to get out of their armchairs and come watch us on a hot Sunday afternoon.
  • Jumping joyously with my friends, DJ, Keisha, Ayesha, Linda, Kerry to Peter Ram’s All Ah We during the Opening Ceremony.
  • Meeting my new Carifesta friends including: Donna, Chenzira, Korey, Denise Harris (Yes! Wilson’s daughter, herself a writer of note!), Bernadine, Cyndy, Kelly, Shawn…
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Rousingly singing the St. Michael School song with a group of alumni (all of us strangers to each other until that moment) who happened to show up at the NCF Book Booth at the same time. (Guess whose idea that was!)
  • Experiencing the Country Nights in the Grand Market – Jamaica, Barbados and Haiti stand out in my memory.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Reconnecting with friends from former Carifestas and other regional events – Ruel Johnson of Guyana, Felene of Belize and Kim Dismont-Robinson from Bermuda.
  • Reconnecting with Lorna Callender, my former biology teacher and widow of Timothy Callender, one of Barbados’s literary icons. Thanking her for all she taught me.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Watching the look of surprise spread across some people’s faces as I informed them that all of the books in our booth were written by Barbadian writers, and this was a small sample of this island’s literary talent.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth
  • Voicing my views on the importance of Carifesta, art and Caribbean culture during appearances on CBC/Carifesta TV and radio.
  • Reconnecting with friends from former lives: Mount Allison University – Allison; St. Michael School – Heather, Michelle, Marietta, Lois.
  • The food! (Btw, the people from Naniki can cook! When you go, tell Julie that Nailah wants to know if she’s started the cookbook yet!)
  • Spending quality time with my Carifesta Sister, Michelle Hinkson-Cox.
  • Selling Bajan Books at the National Cultural Foundation’s Book Booth.

My Carifesta was confined to the world of the Grand Market and Buyers’ Mall, due to my schedule. I knew this would be the case going in, so no disappointment there, although there were several visual art exhibits I would have loved to experience first-hand.

I was there, primarily, to sell books. And sell books we (I and my team of teenagers: Izora Devonish, Ocean Campbell and Thomas King) did! More than 200 books in those eight days! We all enjoyed the experience tremendously.

That Carifesta XIII overall had its problems cannot be denied but, at the end of the day, this Carifesta was no different, in that regard, than any other I’ve attended or heard about.

Carifesta is, after all, chaos.

Is acknowledging and accepting that chaos part of the problem or the solution? More on that in my next post….


Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With LoveSomeone To Watch Over MeSecond Time AroundCruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop.  She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.

To read more please visit:

About Nailah I

Caribbean Passion is the Caribbean's first line of Romance novellas. We specialise in capturing the essence and passion of the Caribbean and our people. This is hot Romance for busy readers who have limited time to escape via a book. Want to learn more? Visit me at
This entry was posted in Bajan Literary Arts, Barbados, Books, CARIFESTA, Carifesta XIII, Literary Arts, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Reflections on Carifesta XIII – Part 2

  1. Pingback: CARIFESTA Reflections 2 | Wadadli Pen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s