New Year’s Day Gombey Performance Advisory
Bermuda’s gombey troupes have worked with Government to agree on a plan to provide their traditional performances in a non-traditional way on New Year’s Day, in order to keep the public safe from the spread of Covid-19.
The troupes have agreed to forego their usual large performances in public places or marching along public roads where crowds will gather and follow. Instead, they will offer short, physically-distanced pop-up performances in various small neighbourhoods throughout New Year’s Day.
“We were very pleased to receive a proposal from Bermuda’s gombey troupes suggesting how best to accomplish what we’re all wanting: the ability to enjoy this important part of our culture in a way that is safe in the midst of this pandemic,” said Deputy Premier, the Hon. Walter Roban.
“We had a meeting with representatives from all five active gombey troupes as well as the relevant Government Ministries of Youth, Culture and Sport; National Security; and Health along with the Bermuda Police Service to fine-tune the details in a way that works for all parties.”
According to the agreement, the troupes will perform on New Year’s Day, between 12 noon and 10.00 p.m., in groups no larger than 10, and no spectators will be allowed within 12 feet of the performers. Spectators must wear masks and keep six feet apart from each other. This will be enforced by marshals provided by the gombeys as well as security provided by the Government.
If the public does not adhere to these guidelines, the troupes have committed to immediately stopping their performance so any crowd will disperse. The troupes will be moving into and out of the neighbourhoods in vehicles, rather than by foot, to discourage any spectators from following.
Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports the Hon. Dr. Ernest Peets said, “I would like to commend the five troupes – Gombey Evolution, Gombey Warriors, H&H Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys, and Warwick Gombey Troupe – for being community leaders in how they’ve developed this plan and worked with Government to ensure the safety of our people.
“This has been a difficult year for us all, and cultural practices such as gombey performances on New Year’s Day are vital to collectively uplifting our spirits as a community. I am grateful to the troupes for helping to prove that there are ways, even given the restrictions around gatherings, to keep our traditions intact.”