BVI News

Festival agenda revealed | No ‘wuking up’ or parade this year as most events to be held virtually

Residents of the British Virgin Islands will have to wait another year or two before they can once again enjoy the Rise & Shine tramp, August parade and the full calendar of events usually associated with the annual emancipation festivities.

Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said on Tuesday that most of the festivities will be held virtually between July 31 to August 5.

In previous years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual celebrations would usually span two consecutive weeks.

“Inevitably, our celebration this year will look different. COVID-19, however, has provided us with an opportunity to be more creative, to have more focus on our local arts and culture and to make sure our heritage is properly recognized,” the minister said during the House of Assembly yesterday.

“As a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, we cannot spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we usually spend feting. As a result of the social distancing protocols, we will not be ‘wuking up’ in a J’ouvert — to say it correctly our Rise and Shine Tramp. We will not be prancing in the street on August Monday, but we now have the opportunity to reflect on the ‘how and why’ we celebrate our festival.”

More about the activities

The minister said this year’s staging of the festival would consist of both virtual events and physical events observing all the COVID-19 social distancing and sanitization protocols. These are, however, subject to the approval of the Environmental Health Department and the Health Emergency Operating Centre.

“We are keeping a keen eye on the situation in the territory as it pertains to the possibility of active COVID-19 cases. Therefore, the current plan is subject to further review, and we will keep you the people informed if there is any reason to change these plans.”

Wheatley said the festival is expected to kick off with a cultural food fair on July 31, followed by a virtual opening ceremony and a virtual poetry slam.

On August 1, the celebration will move to Carrot Bay for a farmer’s market. All churches in the territory are asked to host emancipation services on the morning of August 2. 

“This will include our church service at the Long Look Methodist Church where we will tell the story of the Nottingham free people from whom I descend. On that same day, we will also be having a virtual emancipation service, and we will close the evening by putting on a virtual gospel explosion with the likes of Kendra, Oneyke, Jovan Cline, Dwight Hutchinson, Brent Hoyte and others,” Dr Wheatley stated.

On August Monday, there will be a virtual VI Soca showcase. August Tuesday will see the staging of a virtual calypso review while a Festival of Culture & Praise in East End/Long Look will end the celebrations on August Wednesday.

Each one play your part

In the meantime, Minister Wheatley called on all residents to play their role in making this year’s festival memorable.

“I want to take the opportunity to ask businesses, government offices, private offices and other intuitions to do your part in celebrating our emancipation. Decorate your offices, wear festival t-shirts, have festival themed events. Festival belongs to all of us, and we all have a responsibility to bring the joy of festival into focus. We cannot allow COVID-19 to rob us of our pride as a people; we must lift our hands and voices and give thanks to God for his many blessings,” he stated.

This year, the territory is observing its 66th emancipation celebration, and it will be held under the theme: ‘BVI Festival 2020, Be Fully Free, Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery As We Celebrate Our Virgin Islands History’.

This year’s slogan for the festivities is ‘Our Cultural Heritage in the Mix As BVI festival Celebrates Its 66th’.

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  1. vip heckler says:

    Will sheep will still make is annual stage rental money?

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  2. Data Man says:

    Okay. I here you Hon. So, virtual Carnival, nice. What about ensuring we get a serious break on the data plans from these providers so we can all log on and enjoy the VIRTUAL CARNIVAL. Tks

    Like 21
  3. oh so it go says:

    It was okay for the premier to have his basket ball game and okay for him to roam jost van dyke but not okay for us to gyrate in the streets to celebrate our freedom. I guess it is only we who could catch corona

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    • Gyrate says:

      You can go gyrate. No one stopping. Get you phone play your music and gyrate. Fool.

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    • NO sense says:

      Foolish comment. So if johnny jump off a cliff, it means you can too? Prevention is better than curse. Jouvert is literally thousands of people in one area.

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      Dislike 1
  4. SMH says:

    No current cases and yet still, we have to abide by these rules?? Come on man enough is enough

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    • @ SMH says:

      What part of ASYMPTOMATIC don’t you understand??????

      There was a individual who left the BVI last week who tested positive upon arrival at their destination.

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      • Hmm says:

        Who are the asymptomatic people catching it from after all this time?

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        • @Hmm says:

          “The majority of transmission that we know about is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets,” Van Kerkhove said. “But there are a subset of people who don’t develop symptoms, and to truly understand how many people don’t have symptoms, we don’t actually have that answer yet.” Statement from WHO

          Not everyone has symptoms. As for those who are NOT asymptomatic and figure they just have allergies or a cold, they could be passing on the virus to others.

          Obviously there may be more persons infected and don’t know, are afraid to check, and are going about their merry way.

  5. SMH says:

    Why the f*** he didn’t just keep this to himself, talking about WE WILL HAVE FESTIVAL THIS YEAR! Boy go have a seat and enjoy your next 2 years because you will not e re-elected.

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  6. FOR REAL says:

    All you need is a little commemorative ceremony Festival Monday.

  7. Resident says:

    All I would say is I really thought Wheatley had more common sense. Book sense but no common sense.

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  8. E. Leonard says:

    On 01 August 1834, physical slavery was abolished in the VI. The Emancipation Proclamation was supposedly read from the Sunday Morning Well in Road Town, Tortola. Nonetheless, physical slavery abolished, our forefathers bust loose in celebrating their long over due and well-deserved freedom. Dressed in their rags, they celebrated in town, villages, outlying islands…….etc. And every year ever since and during early August, the celebration continues. August Monday(first Monday in August), Tuesday and Wednesday, three official holidays, are observed to celebrate freedom from slavery.

    Nevertheless, over time, the celebration has slowly gravitated from a Festival to Carnival, drifting from the original purpose of the celebration. From late July to early August, residents take a respite from their work life and other activities, let their hair down, wuk up in j’overt among other things.

    Moreover, this time should be used to re-create an original purpose of August Festival renaissance, a rental. Festival should look, feel, breathe……etc like a freedom celebration; it should reflect local culture, heritage, customs, courtesies, history……etc. Festival in its authentic state can be an attraction for returning residents and visitors.

    • @E Leonard says:

      Let the villages say Amen.

      • Anonymous says:

        A national holiday is currently in place to acknowledge and celebrate the abolishment of Black Africa Caribbean bondage of human beings in the Caribbean, also known as Emancipation Day.

        However, that celebration has been morphed into a desecration of the purpose of our forbearer’s freedom from bondage. It indeed, has degenerated into a commercial, economic exploitation enterprise for gain, an insult to the forbearers, their overwhelming joy and relief they felt at that moment in time when they realized they were free human beings, and the heart felt realization they will no longer be subjected to their predictable abominable atrocities, torture and death.

        A national holiday of prayer, of reverence, of paying homage, and praying for the release of the spirits of our fore mothers and fathers, fore-elders and forbearers, some of whom spirits still roam this earth, these islands and all oceans in perpetual wondering. Indeed, a day is not enough, but it will be a beginning in the realignment towards our African, historical and cultural perspectives, world views and thoughts in the present.

        Indeed, it must be day set aside to remind us to recognize that we are standing on the shoulders, minds, intellects and hearts that were strong enough to endure the murderous and heinous existence they, our forbearers endured, and commemorate their spiritual existence.
        Undeniably, Emancipation Day has been turned into activities not informed by or acted upon through African Caribbean ancestral education, and are not rooted in historical veneration, respect and reverence, but instead parade senseless looseness, loudness, decadence, nakedness, financial exploitations and other activities, all of which exudes lack of historical knowledge and teachings, gained respect and reverence thereto, programmed and natural inclination to delve superficially into things of the flesh, and momentary satisfaction within the materialistic realms of existence.

        Noone, is advocating that genuine fun is not in order in every one’s life. To the contrary, everyone needs such moments.

    • Disinterested says:

      @E. Leonard, notice the emphasis on physical slavery, not just slavery, Undoubtedly, physical slavery was abolished but mental slavery is very much alive. The conditioning of slavery still affect slave descendants. Self-hating, crab-in-bucket mentality, mistrust of others, putting others on a pedestal……….etc are still with us. We must be confident in and proud of who we are. Be not a shame of who we are. Let’s engage and participate in the Emancipation celebration, albeit a virtual celebration.

    • Kurious says:

      @E. Leonard, how you know they were dressed in rags and not in their Sunday best?

  9. Question says:

    Soca? What’s that? Where’s the fungi band or scratch band music?

    Culture yuh say.

  10. down2earth says:

    “Wuk Up”? So, that was an official item on the agenda last year?
    Minister, you need to rise above and bring the territory along with you!

    On another note, why not let us learn some African dances (after learning the two-step, quadrille etc)?

  11. Think says:

    That will crash the servers

  12. Hello says:

    Bad Idea BVI servers can’t handle that there must be some face to face or nothing at all

  13. Born and Raised BVIslander says:

    Road Town area can have a peaceful summer without all the noise

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  14. Well sah says:

    For all who thinking covid going anywhere soon think again so you’ll better let reality sink in and get with the program, because we can’t stay shut down or lock up forever, not saying we should be careless but we can protect ourselves and still go out and have fun..

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  15. pope paulie says:

    What the hell is a virtual festival?

  16. not a clue says:

    Look how we replace Myron with a m***n. If its one thing Myron was always organized and had his plans together. This Minister is an em***********. I shame.

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