by Donna Sealy
A greater collaboration among tents this year has reaped benefits for most, says Sharon Carew-White.
“This year it was great working as the chairperson and spokesperson for The Alliance because I found that the tent managers were actually working together on a lot the decisions so whether or not you were an Alliance member or a BATMAN member, I felt that we worked together to come to common interest and to me, that strengthened our position at Crop-Over and also it lent to a better working relationship,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Even before any of the tents pitched this year, the tent managers spoke out in unity against the participation fee.
That stance went beyond the meeting with the National Cultural Foundation, extending to the schedule under which tents opened their doors, said Carew-White, the manager of House of Soca.
“You found that a person would say ‘what night are you opening’ and they wouldn’t open so that you found you were able to generate business. If you noticed most of the tents weren’t on the same night. We tried, especially early in the season, … not to open and clash with everyone.
“We always say they’re only a few persons who support the industry in Barbados so if you’ve got those people and you’re trying to divide them into the 12 tents, it becomes mighty impossible so what you do is if you say we’ll work the route where one person will open tonight or two people then you can kind of share, in everybody’s interest.
“People can start to say they will visit House of Soca tonight and visit Big Show tomorrow, Super Gladiators the next night. And that sort of thing worked very well, at least for House of Soca, and I do know that some of the others didn’t suffer too badly even when they had judging nights. We had nights on and we can see that patrons are out there looking for social commentary,” she said.
Now that the 19 semi-finalists have been named and will be going up against each other on Friday night at the Wildey Gymnasium, the tents are finished for the year, barring one or two.
“What you find happening, and the reason that we don’t go past the semi-finals announcement, is that persons are focussing on going to the semi-finals and the NCF events, and, every weekend from here on, there is going to be an NCF event or some other event. So to have weekend shows which is what House of Soca mainly does, becomes a problem.
“We would then have to focus, which we are thinking about, but not sure just as yet, coming after Kadooment Day, about having another tent for those people who are still here and looking for somewhere to go and enjoy a taste of what we had to enjoy for Crop-Over — that’s the only time we may think about opening again,” she explained.
Carew-White and her management team’s focus was to get their semifinalists — Sir Ruel, Dre and Li’l Az — and Party Monarch finalist Villain ready for the next stage.
This included getting them sponsorship and trying to “facilitate any needs that they have” included presentations on the night of their performances. They would also be working with Sammy G, the defending Junior Monarch in the 13 to 18 category.