Montserrat kicks off ArrowFest 2010

String Band performing during the opening of ArrowFest 2010 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre on Friday, December 17, 2010. (Photo by Nerissa Golden - GIU)

BRADES, Montserrat – Are You Ready? Alright Then! ArrowFest 2010 has begun! On Friday evening, the festival was officially opened at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, which will serve as the main arena for many of the key events this season.

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Minister of Agriculture Easton Taylor-Farrell who is also a minister of religion, gave the opening prayer and reigning Calypso Monarch Sylvina “Candie” Malone sang the national song.

Throughout the evening, performances were given by the Shamrock Masqueraders and the String Band, with appearances from the contestants in the MonFest Queen and the Sunrise Productions Teen pageants.

Following the passing of the Soca King of the World Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell MBE in September, the Montserrat Festival Committee (MonFest) renamed the annual cultural festival ArrowFest, to honor the legacy of an artist, businessman and friend who placed Montserrat on the world stage.

Chairman of MonFest Gregory Willock said despite the challenges of the past year, the festival promises to be one to remember. The main concerts and competitions will be held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, the street parades will take place in the village of Salem, while other activities will happen around the island. This, he said makes ArrowFest an island-wide event. He thanked all of the committee members and private organizations who have been working tirelessly to bring the festival to fruition.

Minister of Education Colin Riley officially opened ArrowFest 2010 and commended the many volunteers who help to make the festival happen annually. “Volunteers give of their time, talent and treasure to help us as we go through the four major festivals in our year…Calabash Festival, the (Alliouagana) Literary Festival, St. Patrick’s Week and ArrowFest.”

Shamrock Masqueraders performing at the opening of ArrowFest 2010 (Photo by Nerissa Golden - GIU)

The official also called for the continued teaching of the masquerade dance and that it must be included in the island’s cultural policy. He admitted to not knowing the traditional dance and desired that every national should learn it and enable its continuity through the ages.

ArrowFest 2010 is primarily sponsored by the Government of Montserrat through the Office of the Chief Minister and the platinum sponsor is the telecommunications provider LIME. Fly Montserrat, Tradewinds Real Estate and the Royal Bank of Canada are also key supporters.

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