Island Roots Heritage Festival 2018Photo courtesy of Mandy Roberts

A number of readers have asked, and I’m sorry to report that there won’t be a 2020 Island Roots Heritage Festival on Green Turtle Cay.

Though the community has made amazing progress in the months since Hurricane Dorian, Green Turtle Cay is not yet ready to host a weekend-long event.

New Plymouth, February 2020

Settlement Point, the festival site, suffered extensive damage during the hurricane, with the seawall, stage and lighting all destroyed. With priority understandably being given to restoring power to homes and businesses, there is no electricity available at the point.

The Settlement Point festival site will be a storage site and construction zone for the foreseeable future

The nearby Reckley Hall, site of our indoor lectures, was all but leveled.  

Housing on the cay is at a premium — there’s simply nowhere for festival presenters, performers and attendees to stay. And with just two of the four Green Turtle ferries currently in operation, transportation to and from the island presents another challenge.

All that remains of the Catechist George W. Reckley Hall after Hurricane Dorian

Many of our regular festival vendors and performers have also been affected by Hurricane Dorian, and it’s doubtful many would be able to attend.  

In light of all this, members of the Island Roots Festival organizing committee recently conferred with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, and all agree that the best option is for Green Turtle Cay to continue to focus on recovery and rebuilding for the time being – and set our sights on staging a fabulous festival next year.  

If you’d like to help with the rebuilding of the Settlement Point festival site, please consider making a donation to the Green Turtle Cay Foundation. Be sure to stipulate that you’d like your contribution allocated toward the “Settlement Point Reconstruction Project.”

Donations can be mailed to: The Green Turtle Cay Foundation c/o Phillip Smith, Managing Director, 26736 US Highway 27, Suite 202, Leesburg, FL 34749-1357 or made online via this GoFundMe page.

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