THERE was a carnival atmosphere on the sun-kissed Rye as visitors were transported to the Caribbean for the Wycombe Community Festival.
The Caribbean sounds of SV2G’s School of Steelpan kicked off the ninth annual festival before colourfully dressed dancers shaked and shimmed their way around The Rye with the traditional parade.
Hundreds of people soaked up the sunshine and a plethora of live performances at Saturday’s all-day event, which was compared once again by Radio 1Xtra DJ Seanie B.
The High Commissioner for St Vincent and the Grenadines Cenio Lewis told the crowd he had “brought the sunshine from the Caribbean”.
He added: “This is a wonderful day, a wonderful occasion and a day for community understanding and cohesion.”
Festival-goers could take part take part in a host of sports – with Wycombe Wanderers, the Chilterns Basketball Club and Love Tennis setting up games areas to the west side of The Rye.
Food lovers were in the element with a variety of world cuisine on offer, alongside a variety of stands from local businesses and organisations.
Jacqueline Roberts, co-founder and chief executive of event organisers SV2G, praised the town’s multi-cultural make-up.
She said: “It’s a great day. We started the festival nine years ago to showcase the talents of our youngsters, but it has grown and it’s important to remember that it’s not just one day – this is the culmination of all the work that goes on throughout the year.
“That’s in our steelpan school, our workshops and also our work to raise the profile of our African Caribbean culture and community cohesion.
“We would eventually like to get to the point where we can have our very own parade for High Wycombe that represents all corners of our wonderfully diverse culture.”
But she warned that unless the festival receives additional financial backing from the town’s businesses and organisations, Saturday’s event may well have been the festival’s final bow.
Ms Roberts said: “We have really struggled for backing this year and we would not have been able to put it on had it not been for the generosity of Red Kite, Wycombe District Council and a few councillors.
“I hope and appeal to the commercial companies around the town to support us, otherwise we might not be able to put on a tenth festival.”
For more information about SV2G, visit www.sv2gschoolofsteelpan.org.