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Bahamas Junkanoo Art and Music Festival hopes to further monetize Junkanoo

A first-of-its-kind new festival is intended to help further the monetization of Junkanoo.

Created by the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Junkanoo Commandos Angelique McKay, the Bahamas Junkanoo Art and Music Festival – scheduled for this weekend – seeks to help Junkanoo artists sell their art.

“Junkanoo is very, very valuable and there’s a lot of interest within the corporate community as well as personal interest for the purchasing of full costumes and pieces of costumes. The Junkanoo artists answered the call when we said there would be an opportunity to sell costumes,” McKay said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.

“In the Junkanoo Commandos we’ve had requests and we’ve sold commissioned pieces of Junkanoo costumes that we’ve shipped away. Having a festival like this brings an economic boost to the cultural community and the artistic community. Our vendors have a chance to make money, the performers, the tent providers, the electricians, the plumbers, it’s just a good way to generate money and bring life to the Junkanoo community.”

Both major Junkanoo parades generate roughly $390,000 in revenue from tickets sales, according to a study published in the International Journal of Bahamian Studies in 2014.

Compared to the estimated $28 million the Junkanoo Corporation of The Bahamas estimates it costs to put on both parades, there’s room to further exploit the industry, McKay said.

“We intend for this to be one of the premier festivals on the Bahamian event calendar moving forward. We will be announcing the date of the 2020 festival at the end of the festival on Sunday,” she said.

“We don’t usually have art festivals in The Bahamas, and this one will be comparable to any art festival anywhere around the world.”

Taking the format of a sculpture garden, the festival this weekend will feature large Junkanoo sculptures that were featured in the 2018 Boxing Day and 2019 New Year’s Day Junkanoo parades.

The festival will be held at the Botanical Gardens on February 23 and 24.

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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