Driving east on Friday afternoon to El Dorado, the traffic jam extended from the lighthouse, that falling symbol of Port-of-Spain superiority, into the first traffic light near Valsayn.
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New Fire Festival a sustainable Easter weekend fete
The entertainment landscape is about to get a much-needed breath of fresh air with the launch of the New Fire Festival, a sustainable music and arts festival to be held on Easter weekend (March 26-27).
The event will be an outdoor, two-day combination of activities at the scenic and remote Sandy Hill Nature Park, a 40-acre estate in Freeport, Caroni. New Fire Festival activities will include camping under the stars, an expo for sustainable businesses and people producing locally-made products, a live music concert into a midnight EDM Rave, fun activities for children such as an Easter egg hunt facilitated by Destination Chocolate, and a market of fresh, wholesome food on sale.
“Along with showcasing our vast talents, we also want to show what is possible when it comes to sustainable living and eco-friendly practices,” said New Fire Festival joint programme co-ordinator Elize Rostant at the event launch which took place at Alice Yard, Roberts Street, Woodbrook, on February 26.
“New Fire is a flame illuminating the way to a new West Indian cultural renaissance…because we’re facing a series of unprecedented crises in Trinidad, the region and the world…what we need more than ever at this point in our development is inspiration,” said passionate New Fire Festival co-programme co-ordinator Gerry Williams.
“The New Fire Festival is about inspiring behaviour change. We want to come out and have an insanely great time but do it in a way that is environmentally ethical. It’s really up to us, the people, to be the drivers of our own transformation and development.”
Environmental economist and New Fire Festival sustainability co-ordinator Alexander Girvan painted a bleak view of T&T’s eco-systems, economic and social systems in the current dry season.
In describing the festival’s philosophy behind its sustainability practices, Girvan first drew references to the dry, dusty and burnt landscape, unprecedented rates of waste production of plastic bottles and Styrofoam in local landfills and drains and the effect on flooding. He also alluded to the economic challenges of unsustainable increases in imports, low confidence in local goods and services, and an undiversified economy.
He then introduced the hope offered by the New Fire Festival movement, aimed at creating a new type of entertainment event geared toward caring about the environment and engaging in healthy and sustainable habits.
“Sustainable development is defined as meeting the needs of the present without the compromising of future generations to meet their own needs… We at New Fire want to show that we can have a good time without taking away from our children’s future,” he said.
The key principles of the New Fire Festival include the concepts of Reduce, Re-use and Sustain. This will be accomplished by reducing the use of water (timed showers while camping), reducing waste production (an event-wide ban on plastic waste such as bottles and Styrofoam), composting of all food waste, recycling and upcycling event decor and promoting an all-local approach to the expos, workshops and demos taking place during the weekend.
“We want to change the idea of what a festival and fete mean in T&T,” said Girvan at the New Fire Festival launch.
“We want to promote the understanding that there is a demand for sustainability among our people, and that corporate entities, fete promoters and businesses can promote the idea of sustainability and still make a dollar. We want to show people that being green doesn’t mean you have to compromise having fun.”
A line-up of 15 live acts will grace the stage at the New Fire Live Concert including 5 Miles 2 Midnight, Inzey and Dopeskisdaband, John John, Ruth Osman, Solman, Mistah Shak, Christian Kalpee, Stef Kalloo, Modupe and Baba Onilu, Marge Blackman, Nickolai Salcedo, Mark Hardy, Freetown, Nailah Blackman and Yung Rudd.
Following the live show will be Fire Dance, an electronic dance music midnight to six am rave featuring electronic music DJs Nick Farah, digit@l buddha, Yuri, Disko Pigg, Kattronique and Kid Kallaloo.
Multiple weekend pass options for the New Fire Festival are available now at the Scouts Association of T&T, 1 St Ann’s Road, Port-of-Spain.
Call: 271-1073, 492-7516 or 788-0966, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org