While acknowledging that the recession has been a challenge, CEO of the National Cultural Foundation Cranston Browne says the impact on Crop-Over has not been overly negative.
Beyond those events that are free, including the Cavalcades, the Opening Gala, Pan Pon De Sand, Pan in De City, and Bridgetown Market, he confirmed that ticket prices for all paid events this year would match last year’s.
“I think it has had an impact in our sponsorship. As you know … the first action companies take is to cut the advertising and marketing budgets. So I would say yes it has impacted on the levels of sponsorship and that is why it is so important for us to say a big thank you to our partners…,” he said, noting that in addition to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and the Barbados Tourism Authority, the Sanitation Service Authority and Liat were also among platinum sponsors.
Browne said he would not be able to put a dollar figure to the impact on sponsorship, but added that they were nevertheless running the festival with a large schedule of events in large part due to platinum and other corporate sponsors.
Where the impact would have been most seen, he countered, was in the cavalcades, of which there were only three this year. “[There has not been impact] … in terms of standards and quality of the events. I think we’ve had to limit the number of cavalcades for instance. With more sponsorship we could have had more and there has been a public call for more cavalcades, but we are unable to do more directly because of sponsorship.
“We haven’t increased any of the prices for paid events, those are all the same. So although we have suffered some impact in terms of sponsorship, no I don’t think it has had any negative impact on the number of events or quality of the events upcoming,” he stated.
Browne said from November last year, a special committee had been meeting weekly to plan the events of the festival, which he underscored would have been impossible without the sponsors.
“It’s value to a production of this magnitude with over 30 events on the calendar each year is immeasurable. As patrons of the festival, you stand on the periphery of all the excitement and merriment of this well-oiled machine we call Crop-Over oblivious to its many moving parts and to the cost of its delivery.
There are several free components …; these are no less costly to produce than our paid events, but the fact that the wheels continue to churn so smoothly from year to year is testament to the importance of the contribution of our corporate partners,” he noted. (LB)