High art at Holders House
Holders Season has been described as the premier arts festival in the Caribbean and over the years, it has become a staple on Barbados’ calendar of events, attracting performers and visitors from around the world.
Held throughout the grounds of the Holders House, a 17th-century plantation house set on ten acres of land on Barbados’ west coast, Holders Season is a smorgasbord of entertainment, including plays, operatic performances and concerts. Over the years, the event has featured the late Luciano Pavarotti, Tim Rice, Larry Adler and calypsonians Gabby and Chalkdust, as well as plays such as A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew. Operas such as La Bohème, La Traviata and Carmen have also been staged.
Holders Season attracts a high calibre of performers. In 2009, Malian world music superstar and champion of the ngoni (West African lute) Bassekou Kouyaté and his band Ngoni Ba lit up Holders Season with their addictive African blues. Also featured was Louis Hoover, the original co-creator of the London West End hit musical The Rat Pack, who performed some of Frank Sinatra’s hits with the legendary Ronnie Scott’s All Stars band.
Wendy Kidd, the British owner of the estate, started the event in 1993, but today the Barbados Tourism Authority and National Cultural Foundation support the event, while Bajan actors and musicians cherish the opportunity to work with overseas talent and learn aspects of lighting, stage management and presentation.
With the global recession having a negative impact on the financing of artistic ventures, Holders Season 2010 will be a shorter one, with fewer evenings of performances. It runs from March 7 – 27.
Top-speed tour of Trinidad
Rally Trinidad, the premier event of the Trinidad and Tobago Rally Club (TTRC), is expected to draw up to 35 competitors this year, its largest ever contingent. This is due to the success of previous rallies, which attracted top competitors from Jamaica and Barbados. Though smaller, Rally Trinidad has received great reviews in recent years, thanks to the locations used for the various stages. Partnering with the Estate Management Business Development Company, the TTRC has access to Cedar Hill and Borde Narve in south Trinidad, and says these stages make for the perfect combination of distance, technical driving and spectator excitement.
Other stages, in central Trinidad, include the TTRC’s unofficial home in Preysal, Couva, and the rally body says it aims to improve the final spectator special stage in Saith Park, Chaguanas, which has become a signature location, comparable to Bushy Park in Barbados and New Kingston in Jamaica.
A full gravel surface event, Rally Trinidad features, as in international events, drivers racing against the clock, vying to beat the times set by other drivers. The stages will cover approximately 115 km and the rally runs from March 24 – 28.
The competition attracts a large crowd, including diehard motor sports enthusiasts, families, and members of the public who enjoy visiting parts of the island they haven’t seen before.
For more info: www.rallytrinidad.com
St Maarten Heineken Regatta
When: March 4 – 7
Where: Most races start from Simpson Bay
What: Races, parties, delicious cuisine
For more info: www.heinekenregatta.com
Grenada Round-the-island Race
When: March 12 – 14
Where: Port Louis, Grand Anse
What: Sailing competitions, a Taste of Grenada food festival, youth sailing exhibition and Crazy Craft Bathtub Derby
For more info: www.aroundgrenada.com
Jazz on the Greens
When: March 27
Where: Creative and Festival Arts Centre, St Augustine, Trinidad
What: An annual celebration of jazz featuring Ray Holman and Gene Lawrence
For more info: www.jazzalliance.org
BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
When: March 29 – April 4
Where: Nanny Cay Marina
What: A sailing festival with parties and, for 2010, a new windsurfing competition
For more info: www.bvispringregatta.org
Bequia Easter Regatta
When: April 1 – 5
Where: Bequia Island
What: Races, sandcastle and sand sculpture competitions and parties
For more info: www.begos.com/easterregatta
Tobago Goat and Crab Racing
When: April 5 – 6
Where: Buccoo Village
What: Blue crabs and prize goats are raced in keen competitions
For more info: www.gotrinidadandtobago.com
Fourth Annual Aruba Piano Festival
When: April 17 – 24
What: Recitals, master classes and competitions featuring world-renowned performers
For more info: www.arubapianofestival.com
Antigua Sailing Week
When: April 24 – 30
Where: St John
What: One of the premier sailing events in the Caribbean, with races and parties
For more info: www.sailingweek.com