Chewstick: “No Choice But To Cancel Kitefest”

March 7, 2013

The Chewstick Foundation said they “have no choice but to cancel this year’s Good Friday KiteFest due to a lack confirmation from various government departments which has severely hampered the ability to seek adequate funding.”

Chewstick said they “inherited the Good Friday Kite Festival from the former UBP and were happy to add the event to its list of community events, and particularly pleased to be able to run the event outside of the shadow of a political party. They noted they “hosted quite the successful 2012 event, with primary financial support coming from the Department of Tourism.”

Quick look at last year’s Kitefest:

The Chewstick Foundation said that as of March 6, 2013, it has not received confirmation from the Department of Parks in reference to their application to host the event at Horseshoe Bay Beach.

Chewstick Foundation Co-Founder and Community Events Planner Najib Chentouf said “The first step in planning this event is securing the venue, followed swiftly by sourcing adequate funding and infrastructure to make the event a success. The Chewstick Foundation submitted an application for a permit to hold the event to the Department of Parks in the Fall of 2012, and to date have not had any confirmation.”

He also said that he had sent “numerous emails to the Department without response” and had placed “countless calls, leaving voicemails and messages but has yet to make progress.”

Mr. Chentouf stated that, “It is with a heavy heart that we have come to make this decision, given the legacy of the Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay, which has become an annual Bermudian Cultural Tradition for many years.”

He further stated that, “There was a point where it seemed as though the election or change of government may have been slowing up processes but in truth, there should have been ample time to make the decisions under the previous government, and there has been ample time under the new government. We cannot seek sponsorship, contract suppliers, vendors, and organize volunteers without knowing that we have secured the venue, that is key to the event.”

“With less than a month to Good Friday and no formal response from the Department of Parks for the use of Horseshoe Bay, The Chewstick Foundation sees no way to successfully host the annual KiteFest Celebration.

“In the current economy where most companies are tightening their belt, successful fundraising requires talking to more sponsors and giving them the time to factor it into their budgets and calendars. Given all that Chewstick has on its plate, there simply isn’t the capacity to seek sponsorship, organize the event and ensure a quality product is delivered.”

“We’ve been alarmed at the overt non-responsiveness of certain staff at the Department of Parks. We have been emailing various Parks staff since the Fall of 2012, and to date have yet to receive any response to those emails.” Mr. Chentouf continued.

Chewstick Foundation Executive Director, Gavin Djata Smith said, “There also hasn’t been formal response from the Department of Tourism regarding a request for sponsorship” but clarified that Tourism support was “not essential to the success of the event despite them providing the lion’s share of the funding to host last years event.”

He said “if we had confirmation from Parks with enough lead-time we could have sourced private sector funding. At this point without the permit and necessary sponsorship our ability to move the event forward is impossible.”

To ensure canceling the event never happens again, Chewstick said they are “actively seeking a long-term solution with Government agencies in order to avoid these challenges and effectively plan for years to come. But at this time that has yet to be achieved.”

In the meantime, The Chewstick Foundation encourages everyone enjoy the holiday and participate in the traditions of the season safely.

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Category: All, Entertainment, News

Comments (22)

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  1. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    People will still go and fly their kites,
    this is a Bermudian tradition.

  2. Just us says:

    So why don’t Chewstick have a fundraising event at its own location to start the ball rolling… Why wait on government.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Did you even read the article?

    • dthtoo/ says:

      It’s own location is on ‘C’ Street and the space would be absolutely unsuitable.

      All they have to do is apply for a three-five year contract with the Government and this would relieve them of the anxiety, frustration and challenges they experience annually when seeking permission to use the Horseshoe Bay Beach. Seemingly, with Governments the worldover, one has to twist their arm to grab their attention.

  3. B says:

    Yes, but there will be no entertainment. No large events or competitions that were held by Chewstick. It will not be the same. Sure, fly a kite. But Chewstick made flying kites much more than just a chill day on a beach. They made it an amazing event. This sucks.

  4. swing voter says:

    ok so wat is needed to make this event happen….a few permits, a portable stage and a BELCO feed. The chewstick talent will put on a good show and the crowd is built into the event. c’mon Gavin jus bring a couple of mayonaise jars to collect donations on the day, you guys are sure to get a few thousand dollars even without the bar take

  5. Poetic Justice says:

    Someones head needs to roll for this travesty The taxpayers deserve better. The fact that Chewstick did not even receive a response from any department says it all.

    I encourage people to call their member of Parliament, Mnister of Community affairs and the head of the Parks Department to find out why this has been dealt with in such a distasteful manner.

    • Sandgrownan says:


    • OMG says:

      Another OBA gov Fk up. Soon they’ll catch up the Fk ups from the PLP.

      • rock says:

        “The Chewstick Foundation submitted an application for a permit to hold the event to the Department of Parks in the Fall of 2012″

        The fall of 2012 was during the PLP’s tenure. Applications will occasionally get lost under any government, whilst I dont work in government I’m sure this especially applies to a transition between governments after an election.

        You can still fly your kite mate, and if you want music, take a radio. Hardly an F-up.

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Read the reply from the Parks Dept.

  6. Kathy says:

    Where is the faith – you know the people will come, just ask for donations at the entrance….people will pay if they see a good event is on!

    • Just us says:

      Yeah, I’d bring a extra ball of kite string and some sticks…Oh! And don’t forget some tissue and glue in case someone needs a patch.

  7. Skeptic says:

    A number of comments do not seem to have read the statements – this does not seem to be an issue of raising money, it is an issue of getting the permits from Parks in order to build an event and seek funding. It would seem that Parks is either being obstructive or administratively incompetent, or if they have a problem with Chewstick, then just say so and work it out! It is tough enough for charities like chew stick to do their job these days – bungling by gov’t depts makes it much harder.

  8. M.P. MOUNTBATTEN JP says:

    I would hope Chewstick doesn’t take it personal .

  9. Prayerful says:

    I do not know wha is involved in securing a permit to use the beach, but I am sure that park rangers cannot stop people from congregating on the beach with their kites.

    I also do not know the legalities of having entertainment on the beach. But, can we not just have a picnic. Get together with friends order some hot cross buns, and maybe fish cakes and we have a picnic.

    Trying not to be political, but why did the PLP not ensure that the proper permissions were granted before they left office, or did the PLP think that this was aUBP event.

    • Yng Black Mind says:

      This has nothing to do with the PLP, UBP or the OBA. The event was held last year under the PLP government, thus it is not a “political screw-job” – OK!>?!

      This is about money – - plain and simple. In order for this event to take place, there needs to be Park Rangers working the beach for the event (overtime), the Police need to be there (overtime) – - that’s why it probably hasn’t worked out this year. The government (see I didn’t say PLP or OBA) doesn’t allow overtime, thus this maybe the first in a long line of events that won’t happen this year due to lack of funding.

      Yng Black Mind

      • Webster says:

        I wonder if chewstick remembers all of the damage that occured last year at this venue ….I also wonder if they have any insurance to cover this event?

      • swing voter says:

        probably the first time we are in full agreement bie ;-)

  10. Beach Fest says:

    Make SURE All is in order for BEACH FEST !