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Music Festival marks 70th anniversary next year

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The T&T Music Festival will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2018, making it one of the longest running festivals in T&T history.

The festival has evolved over the years from a five-day run to a four-week event, with nationwide participation from primary, secondary and tertiary schools.

Executive committee chairman Victor Prescod said that as part of the celebrations, the committee was reaching out to founding members, founding sponsors or successor companies and initial contestants with a view to commemorating their contributions.

Additional plans include the establishment of bursaries for the Most Outstanding Youth Vocalist and Most Outstanding Instrumentalist. “We are currently in discussions with the Patrons of Queen’s Hall to partner with us on the former and would welcome a corporate partner to provide the latter,” he said.

Prescod said another initiative would be the launch of a building fund, as the festival dis not have a home of its own, “despite being instrumental in bringing forth the idea of a concert [hall] and being at the forefront of raising funds for Queen’s Hall.”

The biennial festival, first held in 1948, is highly competitive and judged by qualified adjudicators from universities abroad.

The T&T Music Festival Association was incorporated by an Act of Parliament (No 15 of 1972) and is empowered “to promote and hold music festivals and to do all other such things as are incidental to the holding of such festivals; and to do all other things necessary for the encouragement of the appreciation of music.”

The assocation was awarded the Hummingbird Medal Gold in 1973.

Regional sessions in the festival are held in the north and south and in Tobago, with the winners of each class meeting in the championships during the closing week.

Prescod said the festival was originally developed as a classical music festival and has since seen the addition of pan, folk songs, calypso, classical Indian music, contemporary religious music and musical theatre, among others.

The 2018 festival adds rapso, African drumming, tassa drumming and world music—part of the association’s recognition of the importance of promoting local musical instruments and genres.

Prescod said the festival has been a great contributor to the development of music in T&T.

“The 2018 festival will be held from February 18-March 17, with the gala opening and closing at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. Registration is currently underway and closes on November 30, 2017.

This year, for the first time since the Festival’s inception, registration can be done online.

More info: Go to:, find the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Association HBM on Facebook, or call 753-2376.


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