The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, through the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) has been monitoring the situation across the globe in relation to the spread of COVID-19.
A decision has been taken to cancel Dominica’s top signature event, the World Creole Music Festival. The event, which was carded for October 23, 24 and 25, 2020, would have been the 22nd edition. In 2019, the World Creole Music Festival recorded over 20,000 attendees and has served as a robust economic stimulant for the island.
The Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, the Honourable Denise Charles, during an interview on August 28, 2020 officially announced the cancellation of the event stating “We would have loved to have the World Creole Music Festival, but as you know these are challenging times and the health and safety of our citizens is priority and, as a result, the government has taken the responsible decision to cancel the World Creole Music Festival for 2020.” Miss Charles also reminded patrons of the importance of the established protocols for COVID-19, “We have to adhere to the protocols, as a government, we cannot encourage mass gathering activities until things are under control,” the Honorable Minister asserted.
The decision to cancel the World Creole Music Festival was extremely comprehensive. The Dominica Festivals Committee engaged in thorough consultation with members of the Dominica Festivals Committee and approximately forty diverse stakeholders, all of whom have played a critical role in the implementation and success of the festival over the years. Given the current world pandemic, an assessment was done of the status of the current source markets to include Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and by extension Europe (France, England) and North America. The analysis encompassed the number of COVID-19 active cases, boarder restrictions and overall ability of individuals to travel. It was concluded that there is much uncertainty as it relates to airline frequency and capacity, and that new protocols for travel and mass gatherings may hinder the experience for patrons significantly. Consideration was acutely given to the fact that travelers may have less disposable income and that generally, businesses who usually invest in the event may not have funds available for sponsorship due to their own challenges related to the pandemic.
The World Creole Music Festival has increasingly met its annual objectives as a signature event in Dominica by creating awareness for the destination and, along with other signature events held annually, contributing to approximately 10% of annual stay-over arrivals in Dominica. The event records performances of over fifteen acts across the three nights and in many cases showcases up to ten different genres of music. Therefore, this decision was not easy or straightforward. Stakeholders were presented with up to four options regarding the augmentation of WCMF 2020, and the pros and cons of each option were carefully weighed. The ability of the event to fulfil its overall objectives, especially where economic activity is concerned, was given measurable consideration, hence leading to the decision to cancel.
We wish to take the opportunity to thank all patrons of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival locally, regionally, and internationally for their continued support and understanding. Look out for the next edition of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival, scheduled for October 29, 30 and 31, 2021.