Virgins converge on Calabash
Over 3,000 persons turned out for the 14th staging of the Calabash Literary Festival, hundreds of them, virgins, seemingly on a 'pilgrimage' of sorts.
One thing was for certain, first-timers at Calabash 2018 were 'Lit' by the readings, the camaraderie, and the melting pot of cultures that greeted them in Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, last weekend.
From as early as Friday night, the vibes from the midnight concert, ignited by reggae's future, Lila Ike and Naomi Cowan, indicated to lovers of the art that they were in for a par excellence experience.
Indeed, it was all about that lasting experience, capable of bringing unsolicited ambassadors to an event that now shapes Jamaica as an oasis of the literary arts.
"It's what I expected and more. The vibes, the readings, the energy, the electricity are among the pluses that will make me come back to Calabash," exclaimed newbie, Andrene Davidson.
Joy Robinson, a Jamaican, who lives in Maryland, USA, but comes home at the knock of every drum pan, was just as smitten.
"It has been culturally enlightening for me, in respect of the diversity of race, age, and culture. I like the fact that there is no admission fee. It allows the community to be part of it," she said.
Others who lost their 'virginity' at the festival, included, Carol Archer, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams and husband, Peter, Chris Zacca, Philipp Hofer, Godfrey and Odette Dyer, Sonya Nalkiran, Charmaine Harrison, Audrey Budhai, and James Forbes, and several persons from the UK.
Based on the number of foreigners, and the wide benefits to the community, Calabash needs to be "supported fully" by entities such as the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), remarked Aloun Assamba, former Minister of Tourism, who wants to see the festival returning to the years it was held annually.