News spread like wildfire today after Love FM’s announcement of the venue change for the BandFest this year. As we all know, the event was to take center stage at the Orange Walk People’s Stadium, but unforeseen circumstances got in the way and the venue was changed to the Corozal Municipality. It’s one of the biggest events in the country where marching bands and drum corp all meet in one place to showcase their talent. So why the change in venue? According to member of the Bandfest Committee, Julia Carrillo, the People’s Stadium was deemed unfit for the event.


Screen_Shot_2014-04-07_at_8.40.52_PMJulia Carrillo– Bandfest Committee Member

“When we went there on Friday with the bands because we normally do an interview, we normally take the bands the week before the Band-Fest, we would take the band directors and we go look at the route and we look at the stadium and do all the final logistics but when we got there on Friday there was no way that we could do band –Fest there because when you walk through it, it creates like a cloud of dust and so you imagine young people dancing on the field on the sound movement you will have a fog of black dust so some of the bands were concerned because they have students who are asthmatic and there was no way they could perform under those circumstances, so we spoke to the Sport Council and we were told way until today that it seems that anything that we can do to remedy the situation and unfortunately it couldn’t be ready for Saturday so a decision has been made and we ask all the bands and they already knew that and we had agreed that we had a backup plan which would be Corozal and this morning when the call came from by the coordinator and the director saying that we will have to go to plan B the arrangements had been made  and the Town has been very helpful and I just want to be thankful and fair but the only reason is that the stadium has not been in a situation that is not ready for us to put marching band on that stadium.”

And while the rumor mill churned about who’s to blame, Carillo says they are not pointing fingers, but that it was an unfortunate situation that the stadium is not ready.

Julia Carrillo– Bandfest Committee Member

“I wouldn’t’ want to get into that both political  it is just a sad situation though because whenever any band-Fest goes to any town is the people who benefit because we normally work with the Town Council so that people of Orange Walk can make money, the hoteliers can make money, the people who sells food can make money and normally all the hotels are booked, restaurants make money so it is bigger than any political issue and from our point of view we are not treating it as a political issue we are treating as that the stadium is not ready for whatever reason that they had been, the situation is that the stadium is not ready and as a responsible committee we can’t make our young people perform on that stadium.”

Maria Novelo – Reporter

“How can you kind of lessen the blow of those people that have already booked hotels from weeks ago, from people that have bought stalls, people that have prepared food to sell out there, I mean they are suffering a lot?”

Julia Carrillo– Bandfest Committee Member

“Even we had booked hotels already because like I said we thought we were going to have it in Orange Walk and the only thing that we can do and what we are telling the bands is that you know what you still come back to Orange Walk when the event is over. Come back to Orange Walk stay an overnight and then you move out the following day because the arrangement has already been made and at this point in time there is nothing that we can do, there is nothing that the Town Council can do because like I said whenever we bring Band-Fest to any Town we work with the town council and they take care of the booth so that the people of Orange Walk and surroundings can make money from that day, it’s not their fault and it there is nothing that they can do it is just the state of the situation but really who is to blame I wouldn’t want to say that there is any specific person to blame because like I said Band-Fest is bigger than that we are about the young people we are not about who is to blame it is just a situation that this field is not ready because there is not many stadiums in Belize countrywide where we can have Band-Fest but Orange Walk has always been one of the areas that we love to come to because it has a good field and because we have an office there in Orange Walk so it is just a sad situation.”

The parade starts at 8:00am and the field show starts at 1:00pm at the Santiago Ricalde Stadium. A total of nine bands; three marching bands, and six drum corps will participate in this year’s Band Fest. Of note is that today when we contacted the Chairman of the Orange Walk Sports Council, Derrick Gillett, to comment on the issue, he told us that ashes were thrown over the field at the People Stadium in the month of January as requested by the Football Federation of Belize. This was done to level the field that was damaged by the rains of last year and in order for the grass to grow greener. According to Gillette, it was expected that if it rained the field would have been ready for the band fest. But since it didn’t, it was out of the Sport’s Council’s control.


While the event has been moved to Corozal the economic impact the change will have in Orange Walk is already being felt as hotel rooms are being canceled. The biggest pinch is being felt by vendors who were already prepared for the event.

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