The Rupununi Music and Arts Festival returns to Rock View Lodge, Annai in the North Rupununi for its second showing on September 18 – 20 offering locals and tourists Amerindian culture, samba and capoeira from Brazil, drums and tassa, rhythms from Africa and India, chants from the Makushi and Caribbean island vibes among other things.
Speaking at the launching of the event at the Ministry of Tourism yesterday, Festival Director Bob Ramdhanie promised an unforgettable experience, stating that the Rock View Lodge will come alive with music from around the world. “Music is the message, and combined with Guyana’s natural beauty the Rupununi Music and Arts Festival intends to share that beauty with the rest of the world,” he said.
“Sometimes when you travel, you feel like you’ve stumbled on something special. Annai in the North Rupununi is one of these places. The area around the Annai has a feel like nowhere else in South America. And that my friend is the soul of Guyana; that my friend is the soul of the Rupununi Music and Arts Festival,” he added.
Minister of Tourism Catherine Hughes, could barely contain her excitement. “I’m happy to say that without a shadow of a doubt, I am convinced that there is a market within the Caribbean that is just waiting to jump on a plane to come to Guyana to experience this Rupununi Music and Arts Festival,” she said.
She described the Rupununi as a place full with diversity. She expressed gratitude to both the Guyana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism for the extensive support given to the first Festival in 2014, while adding that she is truly honoured to be a part of the second one. “We are throwing our weight behind the promotion of this festival,” she stated.
Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine offered the opinion that the festival has the potential to become the most popular musical event on the Guyanese calendar. He went on to say that the festival produces several tangible benefits including boosting tourism in Guyana.
“I think the success of the first festival is going to be repeated and it is my own hope that as we plan for our 50th Independence celebrations next year, the Rupununi festival will become a component of what we intend to do for the celebrations; not just here but across the country,” he remarked.
Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock, in a short address, described Guyana as “one of the most beautiful countries on the face of the earth”. He went on to thank the efforts of Ramdhanie who he described as “committed and passionate enough to push the idea of a music and art festival in a place that you can say is behind God’s back.
“It’s about hospitality not hostility,” he added.
Owner of Rock View Lodge Colin Edwards extended gratitude to Minister Allicock, stating that, “Rock View would not have been Rock View without his vision and support.” He highlighted the fact that Allicock was the Toshao of Annai in 1992 when the Lodge began.
Additionally, in a surprise announcement, Edwards indicated that next year, when Guyana celebrates 50 years of independence, the festival will be moved to Lethem. He thanked the persons responsible for making the event possible.
Ramdhanie had indicated earlier that prices for the Rupununi Music and Arts Festival would be affordable.
Current sponsors of the event include the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, Archie Poole, Banks DIH Ltd, Cara Hotels, Giftland OfficeMax, Jerries’, Rent-a-Tent, Republic Bank, Scotia Bank, Roraima Adventures (Brazil) and others.