Words by Justine Henzell & Photography by Collin Reid
One of the best ways to spend a weekend anywhere in the world is at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Treasure Beach. A small fishing village on Jamaica’s rugged south coast may sound like an odd place for book lovers from around to congregate but that seaside haven is exactly where thousands make a pilgrimage to every other year.
Yes thousands! From all over Jamaica and from all over the world for 3 days and nights of readings and music which are all presented for free. As the organisers say “Passion is the only price of entry”. Started in 2001 by three friends, Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell Calabash is now firmly established on the world calendar of literary events and has hosted Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer prize winners, Man Booker Prize winners, MacArthur Genius Award winners and many Poet Laureates from around the world.
The 2018 staging saw four Lady Laureates reading together for the very first time anywhere – Carol Ann Duffy from the UK, Georgette LeBlanc from Canada, Tracy Kay Smith from the USA and Jamaica’s own Lorna Goodison. Readings of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and memoir are all popular as are the in-depth and often hilarious conversations. Open Mic is expertly guided by Professor Carolyn Cooper and the standard is very high – the audience makes sure of that!
The next staging of Calabash will be May 29-31 2020 so make your reservations now! Follow @calabashfest for all updates.
Be sure to check out reviews from authors that attended the event earlier this summer! See link below:
Written By Tevyn Gill | Photos courtesy of the St. Lucia Tourism Authority
Only 3 weeks after an action packed Carnival season, the beautiful, tourism driven island of Saint Lucia followed up keenly with their highly anticipated beach and boat festival, Mercury Fest Saint Lucia. Formerly the hosts of the popular Mercury Beach — initially of Martinican origins — that gained much of its growth on the same Lucian shores of Pigeon Island, saw an end to the event’s four-year run in Saint Lucia. Being one of the most anticipated events of the summer to be held on island, however, the proactive action of Epic Events and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority seized the opportunity to fill the gap with their own version of the same concept to satisfy the ever growing demand.
The two day event comprised of three events between August 10th & 11th. Its inaugural installment of the now 100% locally produced festival attracted an influx of visitors from all around the region, with over 4000 guests from the French speaking territories where the concept was populated. It is also estimated to have hosted over 150 vessels, which included speedboats, catamarans and yachts from Martinique and Guadaloupe, Barbados, Trinidad, St. Marteen, Puerto Rico, Africa, France and Canada.
Clearly a successful replacement, Mercury Fest generally followed a similar format to its predecessor, with a concert-styled event on Friday night and the typical massive beach party during the day on Saturday at the same venue. Tickets to the events were sold independently, costing EC$100/EU$33 for the Friday alone and EC$150/EU$50 for Saturday only, or as a two-day pass for one price of EC$230/EU$75. As per last year, the Gros Islet Street Party was also promoted as the pre party to the concert, and was a free addition to help usher in the fantastic vibe of the wild weekend.
Often called the “Spring Break of the Caribbean,” the festivities started on August 10 from 8pm with the traditional Friday night street party in Gros Islet, where the electric atmosphere of the weekend was off to a roaring start. Foreigners and locals could be seen in the packed streets of the vibrant little village enjoying the unique culinary delights of the island or drinking and dancing the night away to the local entertainment. Visitors were offered a smooth introduction to the culture of partying like a local, while also promoting the integration of the variety of cultures present on the island. After their crash course at Gros Islet, ticket holders and spontaneous pumpers alike made their way over to Pigeon Island beach for the first official offering of Mercury Fest 2018.
For the first time, the venue was outlined in such a way that even the beach’s local vendor huts were incorporated into the event, providing a wide variety of food options and even smaller bar alternatives (a local revenue stream that was missing in previous years). Hosted on both days by the domestic beauty, Mareen Alexander, and energetically translated by the bubbly Esmerasta from Martinique, the show drew an impressive crowd for Friday’s headliner, Kalash. The French Dancehall sensation, known for his hits ‘Free Me’, ‘Taken’ and ‘Mwaka Moon’ was preceded by local artistes such as Ricky T before gracing the stage to the delight of the ecstatic and heavily French populated crowd. However, both French and English speakers alike united in singing the Martinican star’s lyrics word for word as he continued to entice the crowd more and more with his ‘Mavado-esque’ style. Kalash impressively closed the first show, leaving people in great anticipation for the grand festivities of the following day.
Wasting no time, patrons and vessels began arriving from 9am on Saturday. The classic theme of boats, bikinis, foam and fun was in full effect, with rows of boats lining the entire span of beach, and people swimming and basking in the calm, clear waters. Advertised as the “ultimate beach party,” the festival provided an abundance of the most beautiful women and coolest personalities of the Caribbean. The picturesque ambience provided by the foamy fun and magnificent weather were amplified by the entrancing music by some of the top DJs from Martinique and Saint Lucia, including the likes of DJ Gil, Levi Chin, Hollywood HP and DJ Litchie on the impressive cast. The growing crowd was also treated to performances by the very best Saint Lucian artistes including Shemmy J, Sedale, Mata & Migos, Keisha, Teddyson John and Cooyah leading up to the headline act, Jamaica’s dancehall superstar, Popcaan.
The popular Jamaican artiste had the crowd chanting his lyrics to every song, and completely captivated by his entertaining antics. He previewed stand out songs from his new album, Forever, such as ‘Silence’, ‘Foreign Love’ and ‘Firm and Strong’. He gave a performance that indubitably left both patrons and promoters satisfied with the Mercury Fest product for 2018, and eagerly looking onward to the future of the festival.
For its first edition, Mercury Fest definitely kept all its promises, as well as keeping the major boat and beach event alive in the island of Saint Lucia. Each year the nautical event succeeds to provide a memorable experience to attendees as the biggest and best beach party. Tourism Minister, Mr. Dominic Fedee said he sees it as a tremendous success, especially in light of the enormous economic impact it has on the island. His hopes are that it continues to gain traction and pull even bigger and more diverse crowds as the event is way more than just a party. It also features local gourmet cuisine, premium drinks, and promotes international integration, home-grown talent and exceptional entertainment from around the region. It is an opportunity to promote Saint Lucian culture and arts while encouraging the engagement of the wider Caribbean region in this all-encompassing experience.
The vision is that the two-day festival will gain similar regional and international recognition as other notable Caribbean festivals, such as Dream Weekend in Jamaica. This will further boost tourism in Saint Lucia, and by extension, the economy while playing a role deepening Caribbean integration. The saying “out with the old, and in with the new” may be quite applicable for the little island with big dreams, it seems. Regardless, one thing is certain: in the island of Saint Lucia, Mercury Fest is by far the best and biggest beach party of the summer. See you there in 2019!
Wasting no time, Day 2 patrons and the line water vessels began arriving from 9am. The classic theme of boats, bikinis, foam and fun was in full effect, with rows of boats lining the entire span of beach, and people swimming and basking in the calm, clear waters. Advertised as the “ultimate beach party,” the festival provided an abundance of the most beautiful women and coolest of the Caribbean. The picturesque ambience provided by the foamy fun, the magnificent weather were amplified by entrancing music by some of the top DJs from Martinique and St. Lucia, including the likes of DJ Gil, Levi Chin, Hollywood HP and DJ Litchie on the impressive cast. Performances by the very best Saint Lucian artistes including Shemmy J, Sedale, Mata & Migos, Keisha, Teddyson John and Cooyah— leading up to the headline act, Jamaica’s dancehall superstar Popcaan.
The Jamaican superstar had the crowd chanting his lyrics of every song, and completely captivated by his entertaining antics. He previewed stand out songs from his new album, Forever, such as Silence, Foreign Love and Firm and Strong. He gave a performance that indubitably left both patrons and promoters satisfied with the Mercury Fest product for 2018, and eagerly looking onward to the future of the festival.
For its first edition, Mercury Fest definitely kept all its promises, as well as keeping the major boat and beach event alive in the island of St. Lucia. Each year the nautical event succeeds to provide a memorable experience to attendees as the biggest and best beach party. Tourism Minister, Mr. Dominic Fedee said he sees it as a tremendous success, especially in light of the enormous economic impact it has on the island. He said hopes it continues to gain traction and pull even bigger and more diverse crowds.
The event is more than a party. It displays local gourmet cuisine, premium drinks, and promotes international integration, home-grown talent and exceptional entertainment from around the region. It is an opportunity to promote St. Lucian culture and arts while encouraging the engagement of the wider Caribbean region in this all-encompassing experience.
The vision is that the two-day festival will gain similar regional and international recognition as other notable Caribbean festivals, such as Dream Weekend in Jamaica. This will further boost tourism in St. Lucia, and by extension, the economy while playing a role deepening Caribbean integration. The saying “out with the old, and in with the new” may be quite applicable for the little island with big dreams, because one thing is certain: in the island of St. Lucia, Mercury Fest is by far the best and biggest beach party of the summer. See you there in 2019!
Review by Tricia Williamson | Photos courtesy of Campfire Audio
Firstly, you hear everything!
I played Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled around and Fell in Love” and as I listened through the Campfire Audio Atlas- that’s just what happened. You could hear every single detail down to the age of the record. The quality was simply pristine and the level of detail you get with this dynamic driver is insane.
Once you unbox the packaging the inscription “Nicely Done” welcomes you inside. The CampFire Audio Atlas arrives encased in a beautiful black leather zipper case. The stainless steel in-ear monitors each have the earbuds individually enclosed in mini travel bags.
As I listened to Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” I loved the rich and deep bass as you were immersed fully in a top quality listening experience. This 10MM Diamond Dome (ADLC) Dynamic Driver with a Beryllium Copper MMCX earphone connector and a pure silver litz wire cable. The cool scientists at Campfire Audio are to be commended for their masterpiece. With this Atlas, old and new songs you have loved will take on whole new meanings.
With a nice deep bass, clear midrange, coupled with excellent resolution and phenomenal sound stage. There are no frills… The Campfire Audio Atlas is just sound- mastered to perfection.
Certified Business & Life Coach and NLP Practitioner
I was born and raised in England, however growing up; I had a burning desire to live in Jamaica. I envisioned owning my dream home there: a beautiful home with a sea view. I held this dream for many years, believing that it would come true. In 2011, I moved to Jamaica, and in 2014 I achieved the dream…the vision… I had created for myself. I built my dream home with my partner.
I left behind family and friends and my job which I had been in for approximately 22 years and my coaching business which I had started to build. Even with the thought of starting over, staying true to myself and following my vision of living in Jamaica & serving others through coaching, was much stronger.
The journey thus far has not been without its challenges but I have always kept my Why in sight and held onto my Vision knowing that there are always lessons to be learnt from all challenges. I am a firm believer in staying true to oneself and not following the norm, the average. We are all unique individuals and as such we have our own unique message for the world, I believe that it would be unjust not to share it. With so much information out there it is very easy to lose oneself and get caught up in the hype, the latest fads etc …. more so when no one quite understands your Vision and doubts the feasibility of it. Fear creeps in, you begin to doubt yourself, you feel it will never materialise, you end up following someone else’s dream…. vision….
It is my belief that if one keeps his dream or vision at the forefront of his mind, while steadfastly working towards achieving it, then he has to reach his destiny. That’s the teaching behind Destiny Achieved Coaching; I help business owners put their vision at the forefront of their lives and use the constant image of their vision as impetus for making their goals and vision a reality.
First and foremost, I help my clients understand why it is necessary to get into alignment with their vision. This alignment requires that there is cohesiveness among their thoughts, attitudes, habits and the actions they are taking to bring them closer to their goals and meeting their objectives.
It is now time for you to be uniquely and unapologetically you, you have a unique message for the world and it is time for you to “Step into Alignment with Your Vision”
I am Lorraine Givans, CSO, Chief Supporting Officer of Destiny Achieved Coaching. I am a Certified Business & Life Coach and NLP Practitioner. I support Business Owners and Entrepreneurs with a unique message… brand…. that are committed and dedicated to Step into Alignment with their Vision. I am passionate about support and with this in mind I only work one-on-one and I design a bespoke programme specific to the needs of your business. Destiny Achieved Coaching embraces Vision 2030 Jamaica and will endeavour to support their clients in ensuring that their business will be in alignment with this Vision.
Are you a business owner or entrepreneur with a unique message or brand? It is now time for you to step into alignment with your vision.
For support to achieve this or further information, contact:
by Marshelle Haseley | Photos courtesy of Garth Voisin
Garth Voisin is a US-based writer from the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He is the author of “The Journey Continues- Evolve,” a book he wrote with the hope of inspiring others to dive deeper so they may grow into the better versions of themselves each day.
In his book, he shares life-altering experiences and tips he learned along on his own journey. The book includes activities that require deep introspection—leaving each reader in a state of reflection at the end of every chapter.
At first glance, one’s first assumption would not be that he is a writer. Traditionally, writers seemed to have always manifested as middle-aged scholars, who would seem far removed from most of their potential audience. Voisin however, shows up in the world in a way that could make anyone comfortable and see him as relatable, while asserting himself in a way that effortlessly commands attention and respect.
“My mantra is, ‘Faith has to be more than a fancy saying. Faith has to be an action’,” Voisin said. “I say this because everyone prays, but fail to take actions toward what they want. People say they have faith, but they are afraid to take the leap in the direction of their dreams and goals— not me.”
He recently released his second book, “My thoughts on the way over.” He has been receiving feedback proving the profound impact of his work from readers in the Caribbean and US. Readers range from the youth in Trinidad, to well- known actors in Hollywood.
This neo-Caribbean man, who now has the ability to impact a new generation of creatives said he did not see himself becoming a writer. He had options that would probably give him greater financial rewards by popular vote, but he decided to do something to make a deeper impact on a wide scale.
PANACHE asked Garth what he wanted to be as a youngster— he said, “I thought I’d be footballer at first,” after which he laughed. “I then thought I would be a celebrity trainer— writer was not on the radar, even though I’ve been journaling since I was young.”
Voisin said, “Truth is, I had a few acting gigs, and my experiences were not good.”
“I was introduced to some grimy people, and realized I was not willing to give what they wanted from me,” he said. It was as a result of the speed bumps encountered that he decided to change the trajectory of his life.
“So writing and publishing my books (which I had lots of material from writing on Facebook) was the one thing I remained passionate about, and felt good about creating, day in and day out.”
He said becoming focused on one thing allowed him to invest 100% of his creative energies. Voisin said his perception of things changed, and he realized that writing was his passion.
He realised what he felt inspired to share through writing had profound purpose attached to it. His new mindset was therefore to help as many people as possible through writing— if even one person at time.
“My motivation comes from all the things I am still able to do for my family. I’ve always had what I needed growing up, so ensuring my parents are comfortable is first on my list, and the kids having all they need is a priority,” Voisin said.
Asked if he has gotten less than favourable responses. He said, “Funny thing is when I decided to start writing was told no one would want to read my writing, so I should stick to modeling and acting. But I believe everyone will have their opinions— good and bad, favorable and unfavorable. So I guess this serves as my motivation, to prove them wrong.”
Asked how he balanced writing with modeling and personal training, Voisin said it took time, but he learned along the journey. He learned to not only seek balance, but to learn how inject his energy into one thing at time, and said this practice takes some tunnel vision at times, but by doing things fueled by passion he remains consistent and persistent in spite of how challenging they may be at times.
In closing the interview, PANACHE asked Garth a few more questions:
PANACHE: What inspired you to work on another book?
Garth: The Journey itself is inspiration. I really think that we’re put here to have experiences, good and bad, and we should share them with the ones that haven’t had them as yet. I think I just attached a purpose to my passion.
PANACHE: How has it been, making an impact on a larger scale?
Garth: It feels great! The idea behind the Journey is to share it with at least one person— and if that helps make a difference, then my job is done. So therefore, helping on a larger scale means you can’t feel anything but great about that.
PANACHE: Does being from the Caribbean make a difference in how you see life?
And does it affect how people interact with you?
Garth: That’s a great question. Being from the Caribbean does make a difference in how I see life, and how I think about where I’d like to be. I have an appreciation for how I grew up in Trinidad and the interactions with people. It’s where I learned the idea of family and community— which is ingrained in me. As for how people interact from me, it does make a difference. It’s a great conversation starter, once they hear the accent. People seem to have less walls up as their questions are initially directed toward finding out which island I am from, and how the beaches are there—or at what point of the year we’re having Carnival (hahaha).”
Garth Voisin is a man who may be generally prejudged based on his physical appearance, but he passionately continues to prove onlookers wrong along his journey by seeking to become his best self—mind, body and soul. While seeking to become his ultimate self, Voisin retains passion for inspiring others to acknowledge their innate right as human beings to do the same.
Asked what he would tell his 18- year-old self, his response was, “Don’t worry, everything will fall into place. Keep being consistent, and keep the faith.
New boutique hotel Skylark Negril Beach Resort hosted Top Chef star Chef Nina Compton for a pop-up dinner on Saturday, July 28th, 2018.
The dinner was a huge success and the event raised US $10,000 for the Rockhouse Foundation which is dedicated to empowering Negril’s educational facilities. Most recently the foundation completed its most ambitious project — the construction of the Savanna-la-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy (SIIA). The school is the first mixed-ability, special needs early childhood school in Western Jamaica.
In its first year of operation, 30 three-year-old children were enrolled and this September, another 30 students will arrive for the new school term.
Jamaica’s own ‘Chopped Champion’ and Miss Lily’s Chef Andre Fowles helped St. Lucian-born Chef Compton prepare the jerk-themed five course meal. The final menu from the evening’s charity dinner include Jerked Barracuda, Jerked Oxtail, Breadfruit Gnocchi, Dasheen Puree, Jerked Mango, Coconut Rice Pudding and more.
Let me start by saying this, I love these damn Sony 1000XM2 Headphones, I’m not even sure what colour it is, because depending on the lighting it may look gold or cream. Either way, with its brilliant finish, it’s just nice to look at.
During the unboxing of the headphones I normally don’t read the features, so when I connected to the Bluetooth, I was prompted that an app was available & that it could also be upgraded. So I followed the instructions, let me tell you, this is one of the most feature-packed headphones I’ve ever used, but that wasn’t all, when I looked at the controls on the headphones I decided to take a quick glance, well guess what, I found a feature that is simply amazing.
Say you’re listening to music & you see someone who wants to talk to you, you can simply hold your hand over the right ear cup, where the controls are located, the music goes almost into a soft mode & you are able to hear the person speaking without removing the Headphones. Boooooommm!
So let’s get to the real deal, after charging it for couple hours, I connected my iPhone via Bluetooth, which was as easy as can be. Since then, I’ve been using it for about a week, and trust me when I say it’s been a very happy experience. The sound from these Sony 1000XM2 Headphones is awesome, crystal clear & you get very good bass in your listening experience. However, I’m still iffy as it relates to call quality when you’re answering your phone.
A strong selling point for this Sony Headphone is its noise-cancelling feature, and let me tell you, they do an excellent job with it. To be frank, that’s the best feature about these Headphones.
To top it off it’s also very comfortable & adjustable, which is perfect in certain situations.Even though it is being marketed as a Bluetooth headphone, it does include a cord attachment for wired connection. So being a professional DJ, I decided to test it out at a gig and the result was wonderful. Problem is, the noise cancelling feature was too damn good, I couldn’t even hear the crowd response, but because of its adjustability, I was able to use it on one ear, which was perfect.
As it related to the battery life, I charged the Headphones once and I’ve used it for up to 5 days for about 5 hours per day & it was still going. Product info stated that while using Bluetooth it can work for 30 hours, which is ideal in any situation. It also includes a quick charge feature.
The Headphone comes with a very neat case, which includes a Micro USB & a Wire connector. Overall I’m extremely pleased with these Headphones, the truth is they are now my go-to Headphones and will be with me all the time.
Finally, I’ve seen where they have compared these to the Bose (which I haven’t tested yet) and I’ve read that they are rated basically the same. Well let me tell you this, I’m good over here, I’m with Sony.