by Latoya Burnham
The Barbados Unified Calypso Association is looking to make Crop-Over bigger next year with it’s own calendar of events.
But, says one of the principals, calypsonian Kid Site, they are not out to compete with the National Cultural Foundation, but to complement and spread events further than the centre of the island.
“We are hoping by next year we will have our own Crop-Over calendar of events. BUCA is looking at steel pan competitions, tuk band competitions, exposing young artists all over the island. We are looking at things to make Crop-Over bigger.
“We don’t want to rival the NCF or give any trouble, we just want to broaden it and broaden the scope of the festival. I think the NCF is more centralising and focusing on their events. We want to focus on more artists and more development of tuk band and steel pan. We would like to take it to all the parishes as well. We are all set next year to take it all over the country,” said Kid Site.
The premise behind the initiative, he said, was the broadening of the festival, and the exposure of more than the usual artists.
“It is very important to expose other artists. All the events are centred around certain artists all the time and a lot of other young people who bring out songs don’t get a chance to perform, don’t get paid; so I want to see Crop-Over opened up to all the artists and include more people.
“I think Crop-Over needs to be nationalised, it is too centralised. We need to move the events around and expose all the 200 artists that have been bringing out songs. We can go in the country and have limes and expose the other artists,” he suggested.
He said a lot of the community groups that hold fetes and limes for the season usually have the same set of artists performing, but what BUCA wants is to see a more even distribution of the work for Crop-Over, involving more artists.
“The artists are eager to perform for the people; they bring out their songs for the people and they are looking forward to it but they don’t have that opportunity. Crop-Over needs to be broader than what it is right now.”
The 21-time Pic-O-De-Crop semi-finalist, who noted he was heading into the studios yesterday to record a third song for the season, one he said had a more dub flavour but could be used anywhere and even at Pic-O-De-Crop, said the competition was one that he believed could appeal to visitors.
He said he was disappointed that there wasn’t more involvement of tourists in the scheduled Crop-Over events.
“This is a big event and I am disappointed that the tourists are not involved. I’m disappointed for example that they cut down the Cavalcades to four. If we have 12 Cavalcades or so you could go into the hotels and you could bring a bus of tourists to the Cavalcades to mingle with the people. You have to make these people understand that this is a national festival. I find that they are not doing enough, that’s all,” he said of the NCF.
He added though, that it was not just about criticising the work that has been done, but trying to help make it better.
“But I am not going to stand and criticise, I have a group called BUCA and we are willing to help in any way that can broaden the Crop-Over Festival. We have about 40 to 50 members. It was formed by Acola, Gabby, myself, Observer, Roy Byer, Marsha Whittaker, Andy Williams, Mike Thompson, Romeo, Pompey and we really want to do this to expose artists and expose and develop the young artists,” said the four time monarch.