The Fire is lit- Calabashment 2009


Kwame Dawes (left) and Colin Channer at Calabash 07

Kwame Dawes (left) and Colin Channer at Calabash 07

Calabash 2009 is back on! In a release issued this morning by the festival’s organizers it was announced that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)  has reverted its decision and will fund the festival at the US$40,000 requested. So uncancel your reservations and mop up your tears, we’re heading to Treasure Beach this year.


Calabash won our hearts and when it was was threatened, when we realized just what we would lose if it did not materialize we armed ourselves with our shock, sorrow and outrage and it seems it made a difference.

Yet many of us realize that we too were culpable for Calabash’s stumble. It is free to us, it is freely given and because of that we must support it.  If nothing else the great Calabashment Scare of 09 showed us that it is time for all Calabashers to put our money where our heart is.

As the debate raged about how to find the shortfall, many questioned whether the organizers should not charge. That would make the festival into something other than what it is, and many of those who now enjoy it, would be able to do so.

Yet as many of you have outlined in your comments which have lifted my spirits and warmed the cockles of my heart (though I’m not quite sure where exactly to locate my cockles), we cannot simply wait on funding agencies and the government to fully support this important festival. Instead we must adhere to the mickle theory (every mickle makes a muckle), and so whether our mickles are big or small we must pool them together to ensure the future of Calabash.

By now the festival is ours, let’s keep it that way. I end with words from Kei Miller  “we’d continue in rounds saying let and let and let/ until even silent dreams had been allowed”. Let there be Calabash!

Remember  the “the fire is lit”!


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