Junkanoo Summer Festival Rebranded Back To Goombay


Hundreds of onlookers from near and far flocked to Taino Beach to enjoy the summer sounds of the annual Goombay Festival.
Betty Bethel, officer responsible for Grand Bahama’s Ministry Of Tourism (MoT), shed light on the annual festival as she revealed their plans going forward.
“Tonight is our annual summer festival and we are beginning to rebrand the festival and make some changes for a grand launch next year, but we’ve gone back to Goombay Summer versus Junkanoo Summer Festival. The reason for that is Goombay is more inclusive of all of our culture not just the junkanoo music, as well as the cuisine and the culture, heritage and everything that is Bahamian is represented out here under the theme of Goombay,” she said.
Boasting of the festival’s near 40-year existence, Bethel said the MoT is looking forward to expanding Goombay throughout the islands as of next year.
“It was 1974 when the entire Bahamas launched Goombay and by next year the plan is to have all of the islands will have Goombay Summer opening on the same day and running for the same length so that when we speak about the festival, we can sincerely speak about it as an Islands of The Bahamas festival because it will be taking place simultaneously around the islands,” she added.
Pleased with this year’s approach to the annual cultural display, Bethel said the event is a tourist-friendly destination that promotes Bahamian culture.
“It is an event for the visitor experience and we make sure to get all of the visitors who want to get a cultural experience come out and we probably had 200 visitors tonight and they get to take part in the rake n scrape and quadrille dancing as a participatory in the culture and they also get to participate in the limbo,” she said.
“One of the things we do to get them to embrace the culture is we take them on a mini nature trail tour on the beach, and at the end of that tour they are able to see various plants and herbs that we make our bush teas from and they come and sample them. With a combination of the music, the food even the local resident that comes out makes for an experience. That’s when you get your people to people experience because they interact with the visitors,” Bethel concluded.
A local resident also weighed in on the summer celebration and noted that the extravaganza provides the perfect cultural experience.
“Being out here to Goombay is pretty cool and the crowd is nice but I wish they had a little more energy because I know Bahamian culture is very important to me. With Goombay I get to experience my Bahamian culture a bit more and it’s not locked down, I’m able to be free and enjoy myself,” he said.
Also in attendance was a visitor hailing all the way from Poland, who said she was excited to experience Bahamian Culture for the first time.
“I love this place, everything is so colorful and the culture is so beautiful. I just wish the weather was a bit better because we had some rain, but I just got on the island so I’m really enjoying myself,” she concluded.
Goombay is set to continue this Thursday and will conclude on Thursday, August 1.
Ashley Penn
The Freeport News