The sun sets on Calabash

The sun sets on Calabash

Written by Editor

Topics: Literature

It was a humid day in late May 2010, a day that joyously overflowed with the wonderful interplay of words, emotions and great vibes in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth. The Calabash International Literary Festival had once again served up an excellent cultural and literary feast for the mind and soul, and as the lengthening shadows merged with the cover of night, I reluctantly said my goodbyes and embarked on the journey back to Kingston.

This was my first time attending the event, and some eight months later I would learn that it would be my last. Had I known that the curtains were set to fall so abruptly after 10 glorious years, I would have delayed my departure  on that final day and savoured the celebration of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Uprising as interpreted by the Calabash Acoustic Ensemble (Jakoostik). Had I known that Calabash’s number was due to be called, I would have stayed a while longer and filled my eyes with the vision of the enraptured audience…some seated under the tent, others dancing near the front of the stage in the fading light to the sweet sound of Myrna Hague.


Calabash Acoustic Ensemble (Jakoostik)


Calabash 2010


Had I known that this would have been it for Calabash, I would have retraced my steps from the parking lot and immersed myself in the moment instead of observing the proceedings from the periphery. I would have offered a more fitting goodbye to a special event that I had only just become acquainted with.

The reasons, regrets and remonstrations ring loud, but all I can hear right now is silence. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I harboured the thought of one day reading at Calabash…taking to the podium and sharing a few lines from something I’d managed to get published that was worthy of the celebrated Festival. If this is truly the end of Calabash, then my podium ambition would have already disappeared into the ether.

The Festival brought joy,  inspiration and cultural awakening to many. Those fortunate to have experienced it are left with a treasure trove of memories. As for me, a piece of my heart will remain buried at beautiful Treasure Beach…in a Calabash shell of course.


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