By Stephen Spark
United Kingdom | Friday 19 May 2017: 12:12 BST
The launch of a festival devoted to all things Caribbean is worth celebrating, so Soca News was excited to be invited to the press unveiling of Jus’ Caribbean on Thursday 18 May at the St Lucia High Commission in the presence of HE Guy Mayers. The chief organiser is David Roberts, CEO of CaribDirect Multi-Media, and the event has Grace Foods UK as prime sponsor. Brockwell Park in south London will be the venue for a two-day celebration of Caribbean food and drink on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August. The dates are easy to remember, as it’s the weekend before Notting Hill Carnival. Expect plenty of stalls selling food from all the Caribbean islands, a big presence by Grace Foods (Levi ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ Roots and plenty of giveaways are promised), plus spirited erudition from rum ambassador Ian Burrell.The picnic in the park atmosphere will be enhanced by music – watch this space for details – poetry and dance. Between acts, visitors can browse the arts and craft stalls, while children will have their own play area. A big attraction will be the Caribbean Celebrity Cook-Off. Competing for a £1,000 first prize, the best Caribbean chefs will be pitted against each other under “near primitive conditions” (which seems a little harsh on Herne Hill), with three hours to produce a three-course meal from a black box of “mystery ingredients”. There’s a serious side to the event too. On Friday 18 August, the Caribbean Food & Drink Conference will take place at Lambeth College, Clapham Common South Side. Topics under discussion include investing in the Caribbean, climate change, health (diabetes and allergies) and advice for Caribbean producers on accessing the UK food and drinks market in the post-Brexit economy.Help for Heroes, Prostate Cancer UK and a Sickle Cell charity are the event’s three nominated charities. At the launch the chair of the African Caribbean War Memorial also said her charity wanted to be involved in Jus’ Caribbean.Tickets for the conference will cost £20 online, £25 at the door, and for the festival at £5 online and £10 at the gate.Find out more at: juscaribbean.com; Facebook: JusCaribbeanFestival; Twitter: @JusCaribbeFest.