INTRODUCTION, SHORT HISTORY AND OVERVIEW
OF THE FESTIVAL
The “Festival” started rather innocently in 1995 with four local masters teams combining with Queen’s Park of Trinidad and Tobago in a round robin tournament convened at the Wanderers ground with Wanderers overcoming Queen’s Park 2-1 in the final, whereupon all teams and supporters retired to the bar where several gallons of assorted liquors were consumed.
This combination of football and frivolity blossomed in 1997 to seven overseas teams and supporters (2 from the UK, 2 from St. Vincent, Martinique, St. Croix and Antigua) combining with 5 local teams played over a 3 day period which was to set the tone for this ever popular and expanding Festival reaching its hiatus in 2002/2003 when some 23 overseas international and regional teams brought some 1000 sports tourists to our island, with stays ranging from 5-14 nights making this the largest international/regional sports tourism event outside of international cricket.
Unfortunately, the 2004 Festival had to be cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control. Undaunted, the Festival resumed in 2005 and saw rapid growth resulting in 18 overseas teams participating in the 2014 Festival, a testimony to the Festival’s popularity and longevity.
2016 proved to be a breakthrough year with the introduction of an over 50's tournament to run concurrently with the established over 40's tournament which saw 22 overseas teams and some 750 sports tourists partake in what was a hugely successful and enjoyable 20th anniversary festival.
The Festival Organising Committee comprises three main stalwarts, Grant “Doom” Trebble (what do you expect – he supports Gillingham FC), Adrian “Ockey” Donovan and Paul “Starsky” Wright, ably abetted by Russel “Cuss” Hatcher (tee shirt design), Richard “Del Boy” Stannard (programme editor) and several other volunteers.
Whilst excellent prize money, trophies and gifts are always on offer, the main thrust of the Festival is to produce a truly “Carnival” type atmosphere at all the Festival venues and to ensure that all entrants and their supporters go back home with a Caribbean experience that will stay with them, so much so that they simply cant help but return each year.
All this would not be possible without our primary sponsors, Banks Barbados Breweries (“Banks” the beer of the Festival) and The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. The former having been with us since day one forging a truly happy “marriage”. The latter, the newly formed Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., through their Chief Executive Officer, William “Billy” Griffith has recognized the enormous potential in this already successful sports tourism event and has entered into a very generous 3 year sponsorship contract with us to ensure not only the sustainability of the Festival but also its future growth. We are eternally grateful to them both.
So come one and all, soak up our wonderful tropical sun whilst soothing those aching muscles in our warm, azure Caribbean seas with an ice cold “Banks” in hand (of course). What on earth could be better?!!!!
Paul “Starsky” Wright
Festival Organising Committee