We are not competing with Oistins!
That was the clear message today of organisers of Friday Night Live, an initiative of the Bridgetown Development Committee to return activity to the City.
The event, slated for October 26, is intended to create a DaCosta Mannings sponsored “pop-up wine lounge” on the Chamberlain Bridge, a VIP area in the gazebo in the Independence Square, a vendor’s area, Mount Gay branded bars and entertainment, ranging from live performances to games and leisure activities. It will take in the area between Heroes Square, Chamberlain Bridge and Independence Square.
Member of the committee, Wendy Burke, of the Rural Development Commission, said this first event was planned as a testing ground to gauge response for future limes.
She said at least two more were on the cards, even as Director of the Urban Development Commission, Dereck Alleyne, said this was one of the ways to give patrons an alternative to the Oistins Friday night limes.
“If you journey to Oistins any Friday or Saturday, you will see locals and visitors in active partying, liming, festive time. Why is that possible, yet the centre of Barbados has gone to sleep? Does that make sense? What does Oistins have that Bridgetown does not? Why should people leave St. James and St. Peter, by pass Bridgetown, and end up in Oistins? Is that because the people in Bridgetown or who have interest in Bridgetown have gone to sleep? Urban Development Commission believes that.
“We don’t want to take down Oistins. We want to find a niche; some activity, some highlights that will force people to come to Bridgetown and want to be part of Bridgetown,” he said at a press briefing at the UDC’s Bridge Street, the City, offices.
While most cities around the world were overpopulated and trying to get people to move out, Alleyne noted that Barbados was trying to find ways to get people to come in for activity. He said he believed perhaps the agencies with a developmental focus could pull together to find ways to do so.
Burke said much work had gone into the planning of what was intended to be a major monthly activity on the calendar at least initially until December, but stressed that it would not conflict with the weekly Oistins events.
“It is not a matter of competing, but it is a matter of giving those who work within the space something that they can attend without having to fight traffic to get to Oistins. Why go all the way up there if you don’t live all the way up there when you can just step out of your place of business, stay in the car park at work and come out for two/three hours or so.
“So it is not direct competition… We need to give people within this space something extra as well,” said Burke, adding that as long as the financial support is there the Friday Night Live concept could continue indefinitely with a new focus each time.
Andrew Straughn of Mount Gay noted that there were already a few private interests that were considering bringing permanent activity to the City on Friday nights as well, outside of the Friday Night Live programme.
“There are two private entities that are going to be having Friday night limes within the radius of what is being done here on the 26th. So obviously some people in the private sector see there is a big opportunity for Friday evening to be used in a manner similar to what is being tried by the Bridgetown Development Committee, so I think Friday night is a good night for Bridgetown,” said the Mount Gay official. (LB)