The Caribbean came to Cambridge September 12 as an international showcase filled the streets of Kendall Square. Emerson’s WERS (88.9 FM) radio station sponsored the festivities, while Emerson students were on hand to make the event a success.
The Cambridge Carnival, which has been held annually since 1992, celebrates the diversity of Caribbean culture through food, crafts, and performance. WERS has participated in the festival for the past three years; a partnership that is likely to continue says Howard “D” Simpson ’94, the Operations Manager at WERS.
WERS reaches out to the community and supports event such as the Caribbean Carnival regularly. Next month WERS will help sponsor the Adam Ezra Group EP Release Show to benefit Music Drives Us, a foundation that supports music in New England. Over the summer WERS was a sponsor at Folk Festival 50, to benefit Adam’s State Park in Newport, Rhode Island, and the Life Is Good Festival that benefits the Life Is Good Kids Foundation, helping children overcome life-threatening challenges such as violence, illness, and extreme poverty.
“As a sponsor, [of the Caribbean Carnival] we provide an on-air preview of the carnival. We had different artists from the festival come in and perform. We had the organizers of the carnival come in and give an interview, and now that we’re here onsite, we’re able to promote the WERS brand.”
“As a sponsor, [of the Caribbean Carnival] we provide an on-air preview of the carnival,” said Simpson. “We had different artists from the festival come in and perform. We had the organizers of the carnival come in and give an interview, and now that we’re here onsite, we’re able to promote the WERS brand.”
Simpson added that the festival is also a learning experience. “The students are used to being behind the microphone and talking to an audience, but it only goes as far as the studio. This is an opportunity to actually mix and mingle with the audience that they’re communicating with, and to see how diverse and rich that audience is.”
Emerson students play an active role at the event: introducing the performers, handing out flyers, and hosting a trivia game. Radio major Martika Mercer ’12 (“DJ Mstik”) also worked behind the scenes. “We did a lot of work with the carnival coordinators to get us on the main stage, hosting the acts,” Mercer said. “As the urban music director, I had a big hand in planning, organizing, making sure we knew what stages we were hosting, and getting our merchandise here.”
Fellow student Carmen Hsieh ’12 (“DJ Shezdope”) is a Cambridge native who finds herself returning to the international event year after year. “The festival is important for Cambridge because there is a lot of Caribbean culture in this area. I’ve grown up listening to reggae and hip hop, so it’s definitely important to represent it,” she said.
Lily Jeong ’11, a Radio major and programming director for WERS, agreed. “One of the aspects that Emerson values is diversity in the Boston community. For Emerson students to come out here and support an event that’s so focused on the diversity of the Boston community, I think that’s just perfect. It is an amazing opportunity for WERS as well, but we need to expand it and bring more students out to these kinds of events.”
For more information, visit WERS.org »