Residents and visitors alike, were being urged to attend the upcoming 2019 Bermuda International Gombey Festival Showcase that gets underway on October 10.

The annual event, hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will run throughout the weekend to October 13.

A spokesperson said: “The line-up of events includes a panel discussion focusing on the impact of the African Diaspora on the Bermuda Gombey; a documentary highlighting Bermuda’s customs and traditions; an Open Mic event hosted by Nadanja; and the main event, the Bermuda International Gombey Festival featuring five of the island’s Gombey troupes.

“The Department is also partnering with the Chewstick Foundation and its ongoing Gombeys in the Gardens Community Art Project, which depicts the Bermuda Gombeys on the side of the Jack King Building at the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.”

Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, Lovitta Foggo said: “The Gombey is undoubtedly our most iconic cultural symbol. Its history is reflective of Bermuda’s blend of African, indigenous peoples, Caribbean and British cultures.

“In recent years, the popularity of the Gombey Festival has grown considerably, and we have enjoyed expanding the festival events to provide continued exposure to our folk art traditions and cultural heritage.

“All of the events are free to the public and are aimed to be engaging. So, next week we hope to see as many people as possible supporting these events,” she added.

The full line up of events:

October 10 – 12, 2019 –  Gombeys in the Gardens Community Art Project in partnership with The Chewstick Foundation

This is an ongoing project in partnership with The Chewstick Foundation to depict the Bermuda Gombeys on the side of the Jack King Building at the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. Artists are chosen based on their connections with the troupes.

Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Bermuda Folklife Documentary: Traditional Bermuda Games and Crafts at Speciality Cinema From 6pm to 7:15pm – Cost: Complimentary tickets are available from

Details: Open the Bermuda International Gombey Festival Weekend by watching a documentary on the traditional games that Bermudian children play, and crafts that traditionally kept children occupied, including bottle dolls, box carts, maypole, gombey masks and cat’s tail. Featuring interviews with Yvonne James, George Leon Burt, Shirley Pearman MBE, Donna Pink, Shawn Caisey and Judith James, this documentary will inspire a new appreciation for the artisans who keep Bermuda’s culture alive. Afterwards, Shawn Caisey, the 2019 Gombey Festival Honouree, will be available for questions.

Friday, October 11, 2019 – Dance of the Diaspora Discussion at Leopard’s Club From 5:30pm to 7:30pm – Cost: Complimentary

Details: A round-table discussion on the impact of the African diaspora on the dance, drum, and regalia of the Bermuda Gombey, and linkages between Bermuda and Africa. This discussion includes Vanessa Bartley, former Gombey costume-design apprentice that recently experienced the egun mask costume-makers’ work of Abormey, Benin; Ajala Omodele, author of several Bermudian history books; Michael Simmons, leader of Bermuda Donquili African dance and drum group; and moderated by Ayo Johnson, a Sierra Leonean and Bermudian veteran journalist.

Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Bermuda International Gombey Festival Showcase at Bermuda Botanical Gardens, Main Show Ring From 5pm to 9pm – Doors Open at 4:30pm – Cost Complimentary

Details: Bring a blanket or chair and head to the hillside or bleachers to watch five of Bermuda’s Gombey troupes display their passion and artistry in the annual Gombey Festival Showcase, with special guests. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

*Rain Date: Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ayo! Open Mic! Presented by Nadanja & Sponsored by The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs at Place’s Place From 8pm to 10:30pm – Cost Complimentary

Details: Wind down the Gombey Festival Weekend with a night of pure creativity, sponsored by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. Backed by the Kings Band and featuring a performance by Arijahknow Live Wires, bring your best song, poem, or dance to perform, or just enjoy the vibes and inspiration that unfolds. And with Nadanja as your host, you know you’ll spend the night laughing! Ayo – this open mic is bound to be unexpected!