Mical Teja, goat races, street parade at Buccoo’s Easter Tuesday festival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Miriam’s Memory, goat five, led by Callis McLetchie, won the B Class goat race, at Buccoo Integrated Facility, Tobago on April 11, 2023. – File photo

THE BUCCOO Village Council is anticipating another bumper turnout at this year’s Goat and Crab Race Festival.

The 96th edition of the festival, one of the major events on Tobago’s cultural calendar, takes place on Easter Tuesday, April 2, at the Buccoo Integrated Facility.

Village council vice-president Winston Pereira told Newsday the festival, titled Welcome To The Circus, brings together various facets of the island’s vibrant culture.

The formal part of the event is expected to begin at 10 am with addresses by Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, Buccoo Village Council president Keigon Denoon and an official from the Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation.

Perreira said apart from the goat and crab races, a popular feature of the festival, patrons can also look forward to a lively street parade from the Caribbean Cornerstores Supermarket into the integrated facility.

The parade, which is expected to begin at 9 am, features a host of carnival and folklore characters as well as performances by members of the Tobago Performing Arts Company. Buccoo-based organisation Healing With Horses will also be a part of the parade.

Road march winner and Young King Mical Teja, whose song DNA burned up the airwaves during Carnival, is expected to be the headliner during the festival’s cultural segment. Other acts scheduled to perform are Tobago Heritage monarch Garve Sandy, Erphaan Alves, Wadicks (Kevin Williams), Rhythm Babes, Scarborough RC speech band and NLCB Buccooneers.

Pereira said the festival continues to be a significant feature of the island’s cultural landscape, more so in light of the recent announcement that the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will not be hosting the popular Jazz Experience this year.

In a release on March 8, the Tobago Festivals Commission announced the cancellation of the event but said it was “excited to announce our support for private events that will be held during the traditional period for the Tobago Jazz Experience.”

Three days later, on March 11, Trinidad-based promotion company BlackTwoSugars, hosts of Jazz on the Beach 2023, rose to the occasion. The group announced the inaugural staging of the Tobago Jazz & Music Weekend from April 25-28.

The line-up of artistes includes Bajan Grammy winner saxophonist Arturo Tappin, Trinidad jazz ensemble Elan Parle, Caribbean jazz queen Vaughnette Bigford and Tobago singers Kye De Vere and Kay Alleyne.

But Perreira believes the cancellation of the Jazz Experience has engendered disappointment among music lovers, who looked forward to hearing international artistes.

He said, “The Buccoo Goat and Crab Race Festival, this year, is extremely significant, when you really take into consideration what has happened over the past two to three weeks regarding events that has a similar magnitude as our events, because we kind of kick off everything.

“After us would have been jazz, then we would have gone into the summer (July-August) period and the Great Fete (which was also cancelled). So those things have been taken off, from the perspective of what the event means to the economy of Tobago in terms of the entrepreneurs, the people who are involved in the service industry, the service providers – the festival is probably the only stream of revenue they might get for a while.”

He said while he is not ruling out the possibility of another event popping up, “when you look at the facts, the only significant event for the Easter will be us.

“So we expect a good turnout. We had a great turnout last year. I expect that that should be a driver to increase or break the record from last year.”