by Kimberley Cummins
Interim Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Cranston Browne says there is a possibility the Kings and Queens of the band could be reintroduced next Crop-Over festival.
He told Barbados TODAY this afternoon via telephone that a meeting between the Barbados Masqueraders Association and the NCF would be held sometime after this season and before November to discuss this as well as other issues.
Browne said that should they revive this competition “[NCF] can’t look at the prize money as the only incentive”.
“I think there is creativity but there is too much of the same thing being repeated. We would look to see what incentives we could give to increase the creativity. That may be introducing different categories. I would like a difference in the portrayal of the bands, maybe it is too late for this year because many of the bands have their concepts already and some have already launched but going forward that is what I would like to see … more research going into the themes and concepts of the band. A band should tell a story and that is what I would like to see more of,” he said.
And while veteran band leaders Trevor Chase and Mackie Holder told Barbados TODAY they agree with the plans for the discussion, they were adamant the prize money needed to be increased.
Holder, who leads Wednesday 2000 questioned if not for the prize money what would be the incentive for band leaders to spend thousands of dollars to create the costumes when they knew they could not profit.
“It is amazing how when people move from one side of the fence to another, they suddenly adopt another position. Mr. Browne has been a band leader of some standing and now he is in the hot seat he can bring about the change he desired… not now pretend or ignore the perspective of when he sat on the other side.
“Creativity does not exist in a vacuum. It is unreasonable to expect somebody to produce something at the level you want and then expect to have a prize that is way less than the cost of what it is to produce whatever you are entering. I am all in favour of bringing it back but the prize money structure has to be looked at and as well, the overall prize structure for Kadooment,” he said.
Five time King of the band winner and leader of Ooutraje, Chase said it would benefit his band if the competition was brought back because it was one of their strong points and also because it added depth to the band.
Nevertheless with it costing him almost $18,000 to produce the winning king’s costumes in 2009 to be awarded $13,000, while his second place Queen of the band ran him in the red by some $6,000 the love of the art alone could no longer influence him to compete in that competition.
Chase was of the opinion that the beauty, creativity and craftsmanship of the competition was not only beneficial to him but it added to the festival on a whole. So if the Kings and Queens were brought back but the prize money remained the same, he said, it did not make sense for him to compete and he would continue to be one of only a few bands who still brought individuals, which costs him about $2,000 each to produce. [email protected]