Former Events Director of the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) and seasoned performer, Val Cuffy, has been hired a consultant for the staging on the highly anticipated nineteenth edition of the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF), Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge has announced.
On Kairi’s ‘The Heng’, on Monday, Tonge assured that despite the recent resignation of Executive Director of the DFC, Claudine Springer, the capable staff of the DFC and the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) are “moving forward diligently” to ensure the success of the festival, in October.
“We’re sorry that that happened, however, the show must go on. The Discover Dominica Authority has hosted that show without an ED for the last two years, so they are more than capable of doing it,” he said. “But, in addition to that, we want to make sure that no stone is left unturned, so we have someone who has run the DFC before, who is there acting as a consultant and a coach… That individual is Val Cuffy, who has a lot of experience, and he is ensuring and reporting to the Manager of the Discover Dominica Authority.”
Springer, from St. Lucia, resigned on August 12, after assuming the position of Executive Director of the DFC in June. The position had been vacant for about three years, following the resignation of former Executive Director, Natalie Clarke.
Springer said that she no longer considered herself fit for the position, and stressed that her resignation was a personal decision towards preserving her happiness, and that no fault lies with the DFC or Discover Dominica Authority (DDA).
Springer’s first major task was the 2016 WCMF.
Meanwhile, Tonge stated that the increased budget for the festival was necessary, after the omission of the show in 2015, while the island recovered from the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika.
He explained that an additional $1-million was added to the festival’s usual $780,000 budget, and revealed that the additional funds were used to create an extraordinary lineup, with bigger international artistes.
“What we did with that is to ensure that we had a much better lineup of artistes, and even bigger international artistes…” Tonge said. “We’re very much excited that we have a fantastic lineup.”
In June, eighteen artistes were revealed for the line-up of WCMF 2016 at the launching of the event. The line-up consists of a mix of Zouk, Compa, Soca, Bouyon, Afro Beat, Calypso and Reggae and Rap.
Also during the launching, Tonge explained that the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) will be “raising the bar” for WCMF 2016, with an excellent line-up of artistes, and “superior” stage, sound, and ambience.
In 2015, the WCMF 2015 was cancelled due to the government of Dominica not wanting to “send the wrong message” to benefactors by hosting a festival while the country still suffered socially and economically, after the devastation caused by the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, in August of that year.