Local creatives find new market at first edition  of ‘One Fest Canouan’
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June 9, 2023
Local creatives find new market at first edition of ‘One Fest Canouan’

Designers, artists, and artisans from several categories- including food and beverage, were able last weekend to display and sell their wares to locals and tourists in one exotic setting.

The opportunity came through the first ever ‘One Fest Canouan’, an event held at the Soho Beach House in Grand Bay, Canouan in the southern Grenadines.

One Fest Canouan” was conceptualized and brought to life by Lavern King of Grenadines Gold, general manager at Soho Beach House Batu Erem and The Hub Collective.

Lavern King of Grenadines Gold; General Manager at Soho Beach House Batu Erem; and artisan Paula Garnes of Canouan share a moment at One Fest.

The organizers are hoping to host the event annually.

Local designer Odini Sutherland, had on display designs from Common Ground, a store located at the Cruise Ship and Ferry Berth in Kingstown that carries strictly local products.

Sutherland stressed that Common Ground represents over 25 local brands and for One Fest, they brought “a little bit of everything”, which includes fashion, jewellery, books, body care products and perfumes- all made locally.

“I think the event is a very good idea. It’s the first one of its kind that they are hosting with this kind of display and I am hoping that it is something that can be done annually as it is needed especially for the artisans, because we don’t really have access to Canouan as a market,” Sutherland told SEARCHLIGHT.

“It’s a bit exclusive down here so it’s really nice to have the opportunity to bring our stuff down here and be exposed to a new market because it’s an international market down here in the Grenadines,” she added.

Oleen Horne (forefront) had on display several locally created pieces while local designer Odini Sutherland (back right) had on display designs from Common Ground, a store located at the Cruise Ship and Ferry Berth in Kingstown that only carries local products.

Sutherland said that people are really intrigued by the concept of Common Ground because it is not often you find a store that stocks so many different local brands.

“So it is very good for people to come to one location to find a different mix of products and items and we are hoping that it can translate to people visiting Common Ground on the mainland,” Sutherland said.

Sasha Sergeant displayed items from Liege Designs, a local company that does a variety of souvenirs which include key rings, cups, earrings, “scrunchies”, plaques, t- shirts and bags.

Sergeant said they were glad for the opportunity to display their products at a venue like Soho Beach House.

“It’s basically exposure, and we need to get the name out there,” she said. They can be reached via Facebook at Liege Designs, Instagram at liege_designs .
“You can have anything you want customized,” Sergeant said while praising the organizers for the initiative.

Merrydif Simmons, boutique manager at Bequia Threadworks, had on display local handmade clothing.

Bequia Threadworks is a store that sells products from 15 local seamstresses. Among other things, they do altering and clothing repair, custom work, upholstery and embroidery.

“It is the first time here and I like it. It is not the first time I have done a pop up shop but it is the first time we are in Canouan so I am looking forward to it.”

Simmons said the feedback was positive and she was able to sell a few items. The four year old Bequia Threadworks is on Facebook and Instagram.

Canouan artisan Paula Garnes, was also at the event with her display that included sand collage pieces (bottles, pottery), fridge magnets, hand baskets, bags, necklaces and items designed with shells, among other things.

Artist Jadiel Foster had several pieces on display, among them, a painting of a child praying over the chain of islands that received a lot of attention.

“The event is wonderful. I think it is a swell idea as it gives us the opportunity to promote our products, and Soho is the only one on the island that is doing this right now so I welcome it and I thank God for them and this,” Garnes said.

Artist Jadiel Foster, had several pieces on display Among them, a painting of a child praying over the chain of islands that received a lot of attention.

He said he has been painting for eight years but has been drawing since he was five and was glad to be able to display his work at One Fest.

“One Fest is creating a lot of opportunity and recognition for local artisans. People are actually knowing what we do and what we produce and what we can offer so it does a lot for the locals because there is a lot of people who have products here who are actually on the island so this creates an opportunity, an open door for them so they can be recognized,” Foster told SEARCHLIGHT.

He can be reached on Instagram through artbyfoster784 or on Facebook with Jadiel Foster.

Foster said the feedback from the event was great.

The event also had live music performances from bands based on the mainland and in the Grenadines. Entertainment included violinist Darron Andrews; Soca artistes Hance John; and reggae artiste Abuza among others.

One of the organizers, Erem (general manager at Soho Beach House Batu Erem) said he and the other organizers were thinking about doing One Fest for a long time and it became reality as the right partners came together.

“We wanted to create something different in Canouan. A festival that had music, good food, local artists, artisans and we wanted to bring together these people from the entire Grenadines and St. Vincent.

Sasha Sergeant displayed items from Liege Designs, a local company that does a variety of souvenirs which include key rings, cups, earrings, “scrunchies”, plaques, t- shirts and bags.

“The brand of Soho House is to get creatives together,” he said while noting that around 30 musicians and 30 artists and artisans were present.

Along with Grenadines Gold and The Hub Collective, they are hoping to make it an annual event.

“… And it was a fantastic start. We saw it as a community event and we did special rates,” he said.

Registration and accommodation fees were waived for participants.

Lavern King of Grenadines Gold said that when persons heard about the event, they were looking forward to something different and they got that.

She said persons used the opportunity for a “stay-cation” and the packed programme kept persons entertained and busy.

The event also featured beach activities including football, beach tennis and kayaking, an event the organizers said was conceptualized as a melting pot for the creative community of SVG.

One fest ran from Saturday, June 3, to Sunday, June 4, and also featured street-style food vendors, smoker BBQ delicacies, bonfires with marshmallows, DJ performances and fireworks.