Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Lincoln Park Caribana flies in the face of COVID - Caribbean acts to bring curtain down on Sunday

Published:Sunday | October 25, 2020 | 12:11 AMYasmine Peru - Senior Sunday Gleaner Writer

Artistes from across the Caribbean and the diaspora are set to thrill fans at a free concert on Sunday, organised by the New Jersey-based Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD).

Dubbed the Lincoln Park Caribana, the event brings the curtain down on the first-ever digital Lincoln Park Music Festival, and it also signals the first time that the Caribbean will be so featured at the now 15-year-old event.

Anthony Smith, executive director of the LPCCD, told The Sunday Gleaner that the plans to include the Caribbean in a major way have been in the pipeline.

“This has been in gestation for the past three years. Lincoln Park Music Festival is ‘the people’s festival’ and, to be of and for the people, that means inclusivity. To that end, we knew we had to create a strategic alliance with Caribbean music and marketing experts Dave Rodney and Anthony H. Turner of Images LLC,” Smith explained.

In reality, 2020 was supposed to be a massive year for the festival, in celebration of 15 years of building an event which gets bigger and better each year, but the story echoes that of other industries.


The COVID-19 pandemic blunted and threatened to press the pause button on a festival which hosts between 50,000 and 60,000 patrons over two weekends, every summer to experience multiple genres of music as well as film, tech and music business education. However, the organisers are fighting back. Utilising the new normal of online platforms, they have given festivalgoers a virtual experience, which started last Thursday, but they have refused to acknowledge this as year 15. Instead, it is labelled Lincoln Park Music Festival 14.2 Edition Virtual Global Soul.

“With COVID-19 impacting the arts community’s ability to gather in physical spaces to showcase their art form, we knew it was imperative to actualise the digital platform. The upside was that we could showcase talent from around the world virtually, and create a cultural exchange,” Kim J. Ford, producer and festival director of BRND Marketing Group LLC, shared.

The organisers are pleased that Lincoln Park Music Festival, promoted as the largest music experience rooted in traditions of the African American and Afro Caribbean diaspora in the tri-state region, has made a significant impact on the city of Newark, New Jersey.

“In urban cities, people were depressed. Newark has rebounded from the riots of the 60s. There was a ‘white flight’ and neighbourhoods became run-down. We are using music as a way of reclaiming our community,” Ford elaborated.

There is a sense of accomplishment that this year’s new festival experience, the Lincoln Park Caribana, is dedicated to the celebration of the music, food, and culture of the Caribbean diaspora in the Greater Newark area and around the world. It will see performances on Sunday from Nadine Sutherland; Richie Stephens; Anthony Malvo and his daughter, Tiffany; K Flav from Trinidad and Tobago, and Barnaba Nyirenda from Tanzania, but who resides in Jamaica.

London, UK performers, include DJ Longers of AAA Seminars (Jamaica and Antigua; London, UK) and newcomers Abla Davis (Jamaica and Ghana; London, UK) and Gracious K (Ghana; London, UK).

Additionally, there will be a panel discussion, Time For Action Is Now, themed around the importance of the Caribbean Vote in the US Election 2020 and moderated by Lester Hinds of WVIP 93.5FM.

The closing night is Sunday, October 25, and the event will be streamed live from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the festival’s website, as well as other online platforms.

Festival organisers have pledged that in 2021, the Lincoln Park Caribana will be a signature event of the 15th anniversary of the Lincoln Park Music Festival.