3.5 Hour Video: Bermuda Gombey Festival

October 8, 2017

The Bermuda Gombey Festival Showcase was held last night [Oct 7] at the Botanical Gardens in Paget, with Bermuda’s Gombey troupes displaying their passion and artistry for the enthusiastic crowd.

Hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, the Gombey Festival is held annually to provide continued exposure to the folk art traditions of the iconic Bermuda Gombeys, and includes performances from multiple troupes, serving to highlight a centuries old Bermudian tradition.

There was an enthusiastic crowd in person, as well as ‘virtually’, with Bernews live stream being viewed over 11,000 times and receiving over 1,000 comments, likes and shares on Facebook, with numerous comments left from people in Bermuda and all around the world, saying how much they enjoy the Gombeys.

The 3.5 hour live video replay is below:

The Department said, “The Gombey is an iconic symbol of Bermuda, reflecting the island’s blend of African, indigenous peoples, Caribbean and British cultures, incorporating them over time into a unique performance art, full of colourful and intricate masquerade, dance and drumming.

“The traditions have been passed down orally from one generation to the next within families and the Captains of each troupe determine the direction of the troupe and style that is taught.

“Thus within troupes there can be found subtle but distinct differences in beats, dances, costumes, headdresses, by which they can each be recognised. Freedom dance, junkanoo, cockfights, biblical stories, slow dance, fast dance, snake dance, and rushing back are all elements to watch for when observing a Gombey performance.

The late Terry “Termite” Simmons was honoured during the festival this year, being recognized for his valuable contributions to maintaining the tradition.

This year’s Festival was expanded from a one-day event to an entire weekend, and is set to continue at 1.30pm today at the BNT’s Verdmont property with an in-depth discussion on the evolution of the Bermuda Gombey.

The talk will be hosted by Gary Phillips, who will be interviewing active leaders of Bermuda Gombey Troupes, diving deep into how the Bermuda Gombey has evolved, the diverse use of semiotics across the troupes as well as what it means to be a Gombey now.

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