A Brief History of the British Guiana Music Festivals
History This Week
By Lloyd Kandasammy
November 10, 2005
Make music children
From these notes where curled wonder sleeps
If you but breathe them, and we know
Loveliness is laid there long ago
Wing all your treble melody high
Into the vast Guiana sky
Violins you are that music makes
With innocence for strings and wakes
Echoes of all the hope and grace
Time worn from every adult face
Search us where we have not been true
Let the deep music speak through you
In 1952, after extensive planning, the first of seven British Guiana Music Festivals was staged. It was patterned after the 'accepted lines' of the British Festivals, which were held throughout the Caribbean.
In 1944, Dr Frederic Stanton, the presiding examiner of the Royal School of Music, sowed the seeds of what was considered to be one of the most significant cultural achievements in Guyana's history by encouraging local musicians to stage a music festival and enhance local talent.
In 1948, four years later, a significant step was taken by several of the leading music teachers in the country, Eleanor Kerry, Lynette Dolphin, Edna Jordan, Francis Loncke and others, who met at the home of College master E.O. Pilgrim with music Major Henwood to form the British Guiana Music Teachers Association.
In February 1950 under their guidance primary and secondary schools staged regional festivals where choirs competed for top honours in different categories. Further discussions between Ms Enid Richardson, the music officer for the British Council and Eastern Caribbean and the executive of the British Guiana Music Teachers Association led to the establishment of one of the most celebrated cultural events of this country's history. Preliminary preparation took two arduous years of planning, but with the assistance of Guianese businessmen W.J. Ratgeever and Eric Philips the British Guiana Music Festival Committee was founded in 1952 with the co-operation of the British Council Music Officer.
The response to the first festival was overwhelming. Several preliminary competitions were staged throughout Guyana to shortlist the number of applicants. They were judged by a Board of Adjudicators comprising of Mr F.A. Sperry, Major S. W. Henwood, Mrs Kathleen Howe and Mr Vernon Edwards.
Six preliminary sessions were staged in Georgetown at the Oswald Parry Hall at the Bishops High School on 29-30 June and 1,7,8,9 July 1952. Four similar competitions were staged in New Amsterdam on 27 June 1952 and 11 July 1952 at the Globe Cinema and the New Amsterdam Town Hall. Two sessions were judged at Richmond in Essequibo on 4 July 1952 at the Sarswattie Cinema.
At the closing of entries on 31 March 1952 a grand total of 974 applications for the various categories of the competition had been submitted to the Festival's Committee. Of this figure 728 entries were from Demerara, 186 from Berbice and 60 from Essequibo. A Board of Adjudicators consisting of Mr F. H. Martin Sperry, Major S.W. Henwood and Mrs Kathleen Howe was established to judge the massive number of entries submitted
During the staging of the preliminary competitions in Berbice Mr J.T. Clarke, Deputy Mayor, shocked the adjudicators when he suggested that a festival of subjects familiar to British Guiana be included in the programme. He alluded to the festival for primary schools where children were made to sing English folk songs which contained nothing of their native environment.
It is indeed true that many of the songs performed were arranged along traditional English festivals. Given the prerequisites of the education curriculum in the colony it would not have been possible, for traditions of the Africans and the immigrants to be included during a period when such activities were frowned upon by the colonial elites who were of the opinion that their culture was superior to others.
On 13 July 1952 at 5 pm Governor Sir Charles Woolley KCMG, OBE, MC declared the first festival opened before a large audience at the Plaza Cinema. The absence of a venue to stage a massive cultural event proved to be one of the major hurdles of the competition. In many cases the accommodation was inadequate for the numbers seeking admittance.
The use of the Queen's College auditorium, a popular venue for the staging of cultural events during this period, for the opening and closing sessions was not possible due to a clash of schedules with the sitting of final exams. In the circumstances, tentative arrangements were put in place to stage the festival at the Globe, Plaza and the Astor Cinemas, the Ursuline Convent and the Town Hall.
According to one report, the Music Festival 'aroused unprecedented interest and response in all three countries of the colony'. At the closing session the President of the Festival Committee, Mr Martin F. Sperry, noted 'that the attendance was more than 23,000 people.'
To accommodate the influx of Guyanese from all regions, the manager of the Transport and Harbours Depart-ment granted special reduced fares for school children travelling to the festival by boat and train. Special holidays were also granted to school children by the Department of Education to facilitate their attendance. Many of the competitors from Berbice and Essequibo were accommodated in private homes. Some choirs were accommodated at the Young Men's Christian Association, the Girl Guide Pavilion and Trinity School, which were furnished with cots loaned by the British Guiana Volunteer Force.
Not only was the festival a resounding cultural success, but it also netted a handsome sum as patrons paid a fee of 21 shillings for the final session. The financial statement showed that the receipts amounted to $6,154.46 and expenditure to $4,374.62, leaving a balance of $1,799.84.
Against the backdrop of the struggle for independence and internal self government, which resulted in the removal of the People's Progressive Party from office, the second Music Festival was staged in July 1954. It was noted by the organizers that there were difficulties in staging the festival as a result of the uneasy state of affairs in the colony due to the suspension of the constitution and the subsequent arrest and detainment of key party members coupled with the appointment of an interim government.
Nevertheless His Excellency, Sir Alfred Savage, Governor of British Guiana, before a capacity crowd of 5,500 at the Queen's College auditorium recorded his satisfaction that the second festival 'had already outstripped the first one in many ways' - far more entries, far more competitors and far more spectators.
There were a total of 1,200 entries compared to the 800 competitors of the first music festival. The festival witnessed renditions of approximately 5000 competitors coming from all districts of Guiana, with an estimated attendance of 30,000.
The British Guiana Festival Committee under President Mr. W.J. Raatgever selected Mr Gerald Hudson, an organist at St Michael's Church, Barbados, as the Chief Adjudicator for the festival. Hudson stated that he was 'delegated with the heavy task of judging the merits of British Guiana's young musicians in a series of varied musical performances.' These included vocal renditions by adult classes and choral and ensemble units and the instrumental ensemble section, where the widely popular steel band percussion ensemble was one of the biggest crowd attractions.
The content of the songs sung and compositions even for the steel band, which was included for the first time, continued to be along European standards. English folk songs were also included, but there was a noted absence of Guianese Creole/folk culture.
On Radio Demerara on Sunday 19 July 1954 members of a panel were severely critical of the attempts of the organizers of the Music Festival to modify the steel band by having them play pieces like Grounods 'Ave Maria' as opposed to the calypso for which it was better suited.
Noteworthy competitions included the success of the Bishops High School whose girls carried away two prizes in the Children's Under 16 and the Ladies Choir, the New Amsterdam Choir, the Police Male Voice Choir, the New Amsterdam Choir and the Brickdam Catholic Choir.
Mr Hudson expressed his surprise at the high standards of singing and pianoforte playing. Like the first festival, different competitions were staged at the town hall, the Ursuline Convent, the Plaza Cinema and the auditorium of Queen's College. The audiences were, however, asked to follow a number of regulations during and after presentations.
For example, according to Clause 6 of the festival regulations, 'Silence must be observed during the performances of test pieces and members of the audience entering or leaving the hall during the session are asked to do so between sessions.' One observer noted that the 'noise of vehicles' engines, horn tooting and the slamming of doors of motorcars also interrupted sessions.' Unlike the first festival, the audience had to pay an admission fee. It was reported that 'the prices while slightly varied for the evening shows at Queen's College are very modest throughout, except for the official opening and closing sessions when special prices are being charged.'
The object is not to gain a prize, or to defeat a rival, but to place one another on the road to excellence', a statement by the famous composer, Walford Harris, was the theme of the 1956 Music Festival.
The third festival appears to have had some financial difficulties as the festival Committee, headed by Chief Information Officer Mr. L. Searwar and secretaries Miss Lynette Dolphin and Mrs F.M. Kerry, in April 1956 launched a public appeal for Guyanese to contribute financially to the best of their ability to facilitate the purchase of medals and cups to be awarded as prizes. The Committee indicated that one of the most expensive prerequisites of the organisation of the festival was transportation of adjudicators to places, like Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast, which could only be accessed by hiring an aeroplane.
The festival, described as a `National Occasion' included notable changes in the itinerary of cultural presentations. These included new classes of competition such as a piano class for children under 12, a family duet that featured two generations and, for the first time, the inclusion of Guyanese folk music in the steel band class.
The inclusion of composition songs incorporating the Creole dialect by a West Indian poetess, Miss Una Marson, was another notable departure from the first two music festivals. Invitations were not only extended to musicians throughout Guiana, but also to instrumentalists and vocalists from Trinidad.
This was as a result of the acceptance of an invitation offered by Trinidad to Guianese who successfully participated in Trinidad's music festival earlier in 1954. The Committee revealed that they hoped to attract a wider number of participants from 'all the West Indian islands and British Honduras to participate in the next festival.' The festival committee indicated that they 'did not want to go to government if they could possibly avoid doing so'. In the circumstances, companies and individuals were urged to support the festival.
Because of the large number of people who were turned away in the 1954 Music Festival due to the unavailability of accommodation, plans were made to extend the festival to Mackenzie and the auditorium of Queen's College was secured in advance for the duration of the festival. Radio was used to stimulate the interest of the public, as a preview of the festival music was aired on Radio Demerara on Saturday 7th April. Miss Celeste Dolphin introduced the items which were rendered by pianist Joan Gilkes L.R.S.M., Joycelyn Loncke, Andrew Terril and Orin Barrow and violinists Bernice Waddell and Caroline Philips.
The festival proved to be a resounding success, as there were over 1,636 competitors from various parts of Guiana. Dr Albert Wiseman, MA, Music Officer Trinidad Education Department, was selected for the coveted position of adjudicator of the 1956 Music Festival. At the opening of the festival, which was formally opened by Governor Ralph Grey, the auditorium of Queen's College was reported as being filled to capacity.
It was observed that the keenness which prevailed the festival atmosphere was equally shared by all the classes - juniors and adults - alike as there were many who retained their championship form and status.' Furthermore, the international element was injected among the juniors initially and then carried on to the adults as Margaret Gouveia, the seventeen year old soprano from Trinidad invaded the ranks from that class to win first place.'
Adjudicated again by Dr Albert Wiseman MA the fourth music festival was officially opened by His Excellency the Governor of British Guiana, Sir Patrick Renison, KCMG, at Queen's College before hundreds of spectators on 7th April 1958. He noted that 'of poetry, art and music, the last named is probably the purest, the one which makes us the happiest, transcending all kinds of imagery and being above differences of class and income, unifying influence in a world which is sadly material and split apart.'
The president of the Music Festival's Committee, Mr C.M. Bernard, also echoed strong sentiments of the need for the separation between art and politics. He stated in the official programme of that year's festival that:
"Like all the arts music has only one set of standards - The aesthetics.
Sometimes philistines or morons have tried to impose other standards upon it. Those of politics or popular fashion or intellectual snobbery.
They have failed in the end, for attempts to dictate other people's tastes are always self-defeating. Music ignores the frontiers of nationality, race, religion and language.'
What prompted such strong remarks? Could it have been the political situation within Guiana at a period when the struggle for independence had gained even more momentum? That along with other factors such as those echoed in the criticisms of the 1956 Music Festival, which many argued, ignored the traditions of Guianese by excluding local compositions from being used by participants, may have influenced Mr Bernard.
Nevertheless, the festival was successful, though there was a decrease in the number of entries from previous years. In 1956 there were "1636 entries but this festival recorded a small decrease with a total of 1540 entries and a total of 7000 participants." It is possible that the decrease in the number of participants may have been due to the restrictions of the age of competitors within the verse speaking competitions.
This festival was a first for many reasons. In particular, it was the first time the steelband was given their own class of competition and local compositions were also allowed. This precedent would be followed in the festivals of the next decade which will be the focus of the second instalment of this article.
'Music wakes the soul, lifts it high and wings it with sublime desires.' The 1960s was a decade, which was, prior to the attainment of independence on 26 May 1966 characterised by violence, racial tensions, political unrest and the declaration of states of emergencies as the struggle for independence intensified.
Despite the uneasy state of affairs in the country the sweet sounds of music continued to thrill the local populace attracting large crowds in the urban and rural centres. The Music festival had by this time become firmly entrenched in the cultural calendar.
It was staged with much fanfare for five times during this decade, each of which was characterised by notable additions in the musical programmes. Its success rested solely on the co-operation of the competitors and the high standards of the performances given as well as the hard work of the organizing committees and the generous and enthusiastic support of the populace.
On 9 April 1960, in the auditorium of Queen's College, His Excellency the Governor, Sir Ralph Grey KCMG, KCVO, OBE declared the Fifth Music Festival open for competition before a large crowd, which filled the room from end to end with music lovers.
During the opening ceremony Mr. C. M. Bernard, President of the British Guiana Music Festival, stated 'this year the festival is bigger than the last time; it has more entries, more classes than ever before. But size is not virtue, if our festival is to justify all the effort it inspires, it must grow continually better not just bigger.'
He further stated that;
'Lowering your standards, making allowances, fear of originality - these are streets to mediocrity. Let us therefore keep the unattainable always before us - that is the only way in which the music festival will improve year to year.'
What prompted such a strong statement? A plausible explanation may well be the increased agitation by certain political members and cultural groups for the inclusion of music that reflected themes and subjects common to most people. If one examines the previous festivals the content of songs sung was overwhelmingly European.
There was a constant call from musicians for folk music to be included but the lyrics of these songs were frowned upon. These songs represented what many deemed vulgar acts of promiscuity and violence. In the circumstance whilst one fraction of society called for changes the festival committee felt compelled to safeguard what they considered to be the integrity of the festival.
Nevertheless, music lovers in British Guiana were once again treated to excellent performances as choirs and solo artistes rendered their talents for the coveted prizes offered by the committee of the British Guiana Music Festival.
Donors of the trophies, which were awarded, included the Minister of Community Development and education, Mr. Balram Singh, the British Council, the British Guiana United Broadcasting Com-pany, the British Guiana Mu-sic Teachers Association, University College of the West Indies; The Extra Mural Department, Mr. A. J Seymour, Ms. Celeste Dolphin and others.
Throughout the three counties of Guyana during 19-31 March 1960 several preliminary competitions were staged at the Town Hall in Georgetown, Sarswattie Cinema, Richmond, Essequibo, Mackenzie High School, Mackenzie and the New Amsterdam Town Hall, Berbice.
The adjudicators for these preliminary sessions consisted of Ms Rosemary Ramdehol, LRAM, ARCM, Mrs. A F Jordan LRSM, LTCL, Mrs. V J Sanger-Davies, Mr. Donald Horan, MA, Supt. E O Rogers and Mr. V J Sanger-Davies MA.
According to one report, throngs of people were reported to have gathered outside the New Amsterdam Town Hall to listen to the choirs and soloists compete for a place in the finals, which were held in Georgetown 9 - 22 April 1960. Dr. Sydney Northcote, the adjudicator of the 1958 Festival, was once again selected by the Festival's committee to judge the finals.
The festival was without a doubt a success. There were 1,623 entries with a total of some 8,000 competitors. The programme included three additional classes including the Action Song for children less than 10 years. According to the Festival's Committee annual report this was regarded as one of the festival's highlights.
It was referred to as a 'real crowd drawer.' Certainly this competition would have proven successful, as it was the first time that children of that age were allowed to take part. It was inevitable that large crowds would turn up, the majority of whom may have been parents or relatives.
An examination of the programme reveals that the content and themes of songs sung was similar to that of the festivals in the 1950s. It consisted primarily of European themes. The noted exceptions being that of Class 23 A - the Steel band where the Guyanese folk song 'Yalla Gal' was arranged and performed by bands competing.
In addition to this group Class 23 B, the competitors of the Ping Pong group were allowed to select a test piece of their own choice. As the decade progressed the content and the themes of the songs rendered during not only the finals but also the preliminaries would contain several local compositions with themes along local scenes and cultures.
Against a series of strikes, violent clashes and a political unrest the sixth music festival was staged 16-18 April 1962. Its planning proved to be difficult, particularly as all of the trophies, medals and plaques awarded were destroyed as a result of the disastrous fire on 'Black Friday' as it was referred to by the local press in February of that year. Thankfully, many of the donors presented the Festival committee with additional prizes to replace those, which had been lost.
Like the other festivals before, preliminary competitions were staged throughout the country one month before the finals at the same venues as that of the 1960 Music Festival. These preliminary competitions were adjudicated by Miss Rosemary Ramdehol, LRAM, ACRM, Miss A F Jordan LRSM, LTCL, Mrs. V J Sanger-Davies, Mr. Donald Horan, MA, Supt. E O Rogers and Mr. V J Sanger-Davies MA. These events were as always well attended.
On 16 April 1962 in declaring the Festival open for competition Governor Ralph Grey noted that 'the festival can help to unite Guianese'. This year was one of the most violent in the nation's history. He stressed 'that there should be unity in this divided land and that the festival could help us to unite. Unless this country could do this, the future would be sad.'
His sentiments were echoed by Mr. C M Bernard the president of the Music Festival Committee who, in his opening remarks noted that 'music is cultivated for its own sake, not for its effects on society at large, but it does bring people together, it does make them act in concert, it does lead them to appreciate one another's talents.'
The festival had new rules and regulations to guide competitors. Of special interest was the use of official competitors' cards in order to gain admission into the hall where the festival was being staged. It was believed that many persons might have gained free admission into closed areas as they may have posed as competitors.
This music festival was significant as it was the first time that folk songs were performed as a part of the competition. It appears as though the numerous letters appearing in the papers and the nationalistic sentiment in the intensified struggle for independence may have persuaded the festival's organizers to allow local culture to be incorporated into the curricula.
Dr. Sydney Northcote was once again the festival's adjudicator. During his opening remarks he requested that 'competitors not add vulgarity to folk songs as vulgarity belonged neither to the past or the future. Choose a folk song, he added, which could still give amusement and could still be beautiful. '
If one takes Northcote's comment at hand it seems that there may have been a definite attempt to change the structure, language and cultural traditions that make up folk songs. These songs are believed to have originated from the enslaved population who amused themselves in the fields whilst cutting cane on the estates. The dialect with which the songs were sung is a mixture of African and English languages. Additionally many of the songs, which are today so popular, tell of estate life but social customs stories and practices by the many cultural groupings which makeup the country's populace.
Before the festival was staged some of the songs were rewritten to clean up what many considered to be 'vulgar lyrics.' Additionally competitors were required to indicate their choice for performance in advance to the committee for their approval.
Nevertheless Class 53, the Folk Song Quartet proved to be an overwhelming crowd drawer for the festival's organizers. Several groups including the Goodwill Quartet, Futura Village Groups, B G Choral Society, El Dorados Again, Concert Lovers Group, Teachers Quartet, Venus Quartet, Queen's College Quartet, Starlets Quartet and the Police Male Voice Quartet provided renditions of popular folk songs to the delight of the audience. Of this group Venus Quartet were judged the winner for their performance of 'Goo Night A Goo Night'.
The festival was despite the prevailing circumstances of the decade described by one report to be an overwhelming success attracting some 1723 entries and 8000 competitors.
On 16 - 31 March 1964 the Seventh Music festival was staged in Georgetown at the Town Hall and Queen's College. A total of thirteen preliminary competitions were staged in Georgetown, New Amsterdam, Anna Regina and Mackenzie at the same venues as that of the 1960 Music Festival. These preliminary competitions were judged by Mrs Rosemary Ramdehol, Mrs IRB Robinson, Mr Kenneth Backe, Mr Ivor LT Watts, Mr R N McWoon and Supt. E O Rogers.
The festival was declared open for competition by His Worship, Lord Mayor of Georgetown Mr. Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham before a large audience on 16 March 1964 at Queen's College. Burnham noted that 'the music festival is now a national event and one of the means which can be used to bring our various peoples together into one nation. In British Guiana the festival eradicates all differences of class and race and brings out a sense of respect, self reliance and ingenuity qualities necessary in the formation of people and a nation.
He also thanked the colonial government for their contribution for the sum of $250 which was used to transport Rupununi competitors as the festival's administration could not have afforded the additional expenses which would have been incurred were this contribution not made possible.
During the opening ceremony Mr. A J Seymour, Vice President of the Music Association noted 'once again the people of Guiana meet to pace one another on a road to musical excellence, once again the harmony of sweet sounds knits individuals together as throughout the land they make music and listen to one another and so enhance the already considerable musical heritage which this country possesses.'
The festival, which was adjudicated by Dr Havelock Nelson, MA, PhD, LRAM included four new classes, two of which were the Instrumental Group - Indian Instruments and Instrumental Guitars and Percussion. For the Folk Song Group there was increase in the number of competitors from four in the previous festival to twelve.
They were allowed to perform a test piece of their own choice for the festival. A similar arrangement was made for the Steelband Group, which had a record of fourteen competitors.
Dr. Nelson observed that the competitors had all displayed a high quality of work but he singled out baritone Stanley Ridley whose rendition of Rowle's Sea Shanty 'Blue Water' as being one of 'the most outstanding voices I have heard for a long time while travelling half way around the world.
There were a total of 1552 entries for the 1964 festival a slight decline from the 1723 entries of the 1962 festival. Despite this the festival was regarded as being a success. There were criticisms however in the local newspapers as some observers commented that the festival had failed to stimulate the creative writing skills of local musicians.
A decade before there was indeed considerable writing undertaken by distinguished personalities such as Arthur Seymour, Martin Carter and Wilson Harris. This certainly was a valid point but it should be noted that the field of musical compositions gained momentum as the National History & Arts Council spearheaded several activities to mark the celebrations of an independent Guyana.
As a result of the number of activities staged to celebrate the birth of an independent Guyana no Music festivals were held in 1966. In fact the Music Teachers Association, who was responsible for the planning of the festival were actively engaged in preparing students for special concerts and shows for Guyana Week 1966.
In the circumstance the eighth Guyana Music Festival was staged 8 - 19 April 1967. The test pieces for the Music Festival were pre selected and named in circulars, which were distributed to schools and societies. Fourteen preliminary sessions were staged throughout Guyana at the regular venues. Certificates of participation were awarded for the first time to all competitors. Trophies, medals and plaques were once again donated through the courtesy of individuals, companies and organizations.
A J Seymour, president of the Festival Committee, noted that 'the ideals of a nation are most manifest in its imaginative creations of Art and Music. A new nation strives to attain preserve qualities of excellence and superior standards of achievement as it projects its image both on the international scene and also on the consciousness of its citizens.'
In an interview given to the Guyana Chronicle Dr. Russell was described as 'stimulatingly witty and bitingly sarcastic' in his views of the music festival. Overall he described the event as being of a high standard, paying special reference to the choral groups and verse-speaking competitors.
On the other hand when describing the Folk Song Group he noted 'that our folk songs lack the wild and bawdy abandon as those of the Calypso singing in Trinidad. For him he further stated they were too 'Englishfied.' This was possible as the festival's organizers screened many of the folk songs used in the competition. In the circumstance it is doubtful that some of the most popular songs would have been selected as their content would have reflected thoughts of vulgarity, the very thought which had been expressed earlier on by Dr. Sydney Northcote.
Within the Folk Song Group the Police Folk Singers and the Woodside Folk Song Group emerged as the favourites, staging a keen battle to finish first and second respectively. Dr. Russell noted that the Police were 'exceedingly original with their arrangement and dramatization of 'me bowl o biling caffee.' Clad in baggy outfits of the 30s they looked a veritable group of travelling minstrels. Their performance was fine, but Russell noted the drama was over done.
Russell was also exceedingly critical of the steel bands noting that those in Guyana 'have a long way to go before reaching the standard, style and technique of their counterparts in Trinidad.'
The number of entries for the competition totalled 1713 with approximately some 8000 competitors.
On 1969 the Ninth and final Guyana Music Festival of this decade was staged 18 - 30 July of that year. The planning of the festival appears to have had some financial problems as a public appeal was again launched for the purchase of trophies and other prizes.
Adjudicated by Dr Clover, the festival was described as one which was a 'great triumph for the youths.' Headed by superb fanfare, the festival was opened by Governor General Sir David Rose before a large and appreciative audience at Queens College.
Clover noted that he was overly impressed with the musical talent abundant in Guyana. He singled out one competitor in particular, Charles Maxwell in Class 50 the Tenor Solo. 'This is the best performance by a tenor. I can't remember hearing and having adjudicated in many lands for many years, this is the first time in any country in any class that I have ever given a competitor at a music festival 94 marks for a performance.'
The Folk Song Group, Class 59, were also praised for providing the 'very best entertainment for the festival. The performance by the Emel singers, a group comprising of 12 youngsters from rural Guyana were reported to have given an outstanding performance of 'me na dead yet,' attired in colourful costumes to the delight of the audience. The Woodside Folk Group and the Police Folk Group continued to stage a keen competition. The decade's final music festival came to a grand close as festival winners treated the large and appreciative audience to a grand concert at Queens College.
For almost two weeks bi annually the Music festivals provided patrons with the opportunity to listen to the talent of Guyanese, leaving an outstanding impression of merit and achievement. This was most definitely used as a stimulus for the development of the cultural field 'as the ideals of a nation are most manifest in its creations of art and music.'