FROM all accounts this Crop Over Festival was one of the best Barbados has experienced in years. Last year was great, this year was much better, but from the words of Minister Stephen Lashley and the team at the NCF next year will be even better. Well done Minister Lashley and thank you for ensuring that our Crop Over Festival was a tremendous success.
As stated by Minister Lashley the success of the season can be attributed to the many consultation sessions which the organisers had with the many stakeholders in this grand summer time event. As promised we can expect that very soon, “the stakeholders will be reviewing the events held during the Crop Over season – particularly those organised by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) with the hope of improving the festival in the future”.
Many persons contributed to making this festival a success and they cannot be thanked better than with the words of appreciation from Minister Lashley: “I am very pleased given the kind of turnout we’ve had at the various events. I really want to say that there has been a very good response this year, in particular from the private sector. In previous years, I have asked for the private sector to be more involved in having events in Crop Over and this year we have had many private events. We had a lot of fetes [and] we have had other ways in which the private sector have gotten involved, so I want to recognise that effort. I want to thank the National Cultural Foundation because they have actually done a phenomenal job and I want to thank the public of Barbados for continuing to support Crop Over.”
Crop Over contributes in a tremendous way to the economic activity in Barbados. It is estimated that the festival alone accounts for some BDS$80 million dollars being spent in the country. All of the major sectors have reported robust and encouraging activity during this period. The Hotel sector is happy with the bookings, there are not enough rental cars available in Barbados to satisfy the demand. Even the agricultural sector has seen increased sales as a result of persons purchasing chicken, pork, vegetables and other ground provisions for crop over related activities. This is definitely encouraging signs and positive news.
We have not fully tapped into the potential of this summer festival and with greater collaboration Barbados can definitely expand the crop over festival and the season of emancipation into one of the major tourism drawing cards for the summer period. Taking us closer to that goal of having an all-year-round tourism season.
Of course the festival would not be what it is without the entertainers and band leaders. Let us commend the Minister for standing firmly behind the creative industries and putting it on par with the other productive sectors in Barbados. When the provisions within the Cultural Industries Act are fully executed Barbados will benefit from a thriving creative sector.
The music from our crop over legends such as Red Plastic Bag, Classic, Lil Rick, Biggie Irie, Alison Hinds, Blood, Peter Ram and Edwin Yearwood led the way with the soca to help us to enjoy the festival. The future of the festival looks bright and promising with the offerings of the new and emerging artiste such as Ian Webster, Imani, Nikita, Marvay, King Bubba, Rene King, Kirk Brown, Lead Pipe and Saddis, Donnella and countless others who showed that they are just as good as the experienced performers. Our festival has a bright future instore. Our creative industry will continue to grow.
The NCF and Minister Lashley has provided tremendous support and opportunities for the youth in the festival. The NCF youth volunteers have helped to ensure the events were smoothly executed. The assistance provided to the young promotion team of Volume Entertainment and the stellar show last Sunday further emphasised that the future of the festival is in good hands. The appearance of Rihanna on the stage was the icing on the cake making this festival truly, “sweet fuh days!”
Every year our festival continues to attract international super stars thanks to our Cultural Ambassador Rihanna. This year the presence of Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton on the road for Grand Kadooment provided us with amazing international media coverage. This will undoubtedly cause a number of persons to put Crop Over 2016 into their dairy.
We had an amazing Crop Over Festival. Well done!