Showcasing the heritage, culture and the traditional folk art of the island, the festival is mostly known for dance, music and entertainment. While dancing on drum, you will also see local food stalls, children with colorful make-ups, inspired by the Gombey dancers and local souvenirs of Gombey.
Historically, Gombey Festival roots back to old times of slavery. Back then, Gombey was not viewed as a respectable art form and thus the slaves were allowed to dance only once a year. They danced on masks, hiding their face in order to protest freely. This famous dance on drum beats roots back to Afro-Caribbean style of dancing which was introduced to the island in the beginning of the 17th century. Gombey Festival which began as a traditional one day event has later turned into a weekend, offering great entertainment.
As an iconic symbol of Bermuda, the festival reflects the blending of African, Caribbean and British cultures. This has inspired their music, costumes and dance steps. During the festival, typically male dancers known as Gombeys, demonstrate their skills gained through time. In the meantime, the Gombeys send a message through their art and costumes as well.
Wearing colorful masks adorn with peacock feathers as a symbol of pride and mirrors to scare the evil spirit, the dancer will have colorful make-ups as well. During the entertainments in which drum represents the African and Caribbean culture, the beat, they say, speaks to the dancer, who in turn speaks to the audience.