For Crop Over’s 40th anniversary, the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) will be taking the festival back to the community, says Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley. And several new events and elements have been added to the calendar to facilitate this.
The changes, Lashley said Wednesday evening at the official launch of the Crop Over Calendar, had come through a “think tank” made up of Crop Over stakeholders.
The minister told his audience in the President’s Suite at Kensington Oval that since its reintroduction in 1974, Crop Over had developed into a major cultural production, recognized around the world; hence it could not be seen merely as a time for revelry.
“As a people, it is important that we understand and embrace the fact that just as our forefathers used it as an opportunity to celebrate, a respite from their back-breaking labours, we now in a modern and highly developed Barbados, must see it as an occasion for us to celebrate our beautiful country; an occasion to celebrate ourselves, and to celebrate the contribution, the sacrifices of our ancestors, of our National Heroes,” Lashley said.
“And so, we must all work together to produce a Crop Over this year that is both exciting and uplifting. Once again, our cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, will be highlighted. It has been heart-warming to see the extent to which Barbadians have embraced the significance of Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison, turning out in vast numbers to participate in the tours that are organized.”
The minister, hopeful “huge numbers” as well would support the new Crop Over initiatives, said the NCF had developed a community desk to facilitate the community partnerships.
He added: “I am very pleased to announce that we shall also be introducing a Speightstown Market. This will not only draw attention to the heritage of this quaint and beautiful little town in the north, but it will at the same time offer additional opportunities for revenue generation for our cultural practitioners and entrepreneurs . . . . One of the things we want to do is to reach into the communities. Community carnivals are a part of a partnership with communities, where the NCF assists community groups and organizations in executing and planning events.
“Now that does not mean the NCF takes over the event. We feel that where we want to expand the reach of Crop Over, there are several communities that do things for Crop Over, but we want to provide that technical support for them to make sure that the event can be properly executed and that they can follow the appropriate guidelines.”
While the number of Cavalcades have been decreased, the NCF has introduced events including: the Crop Over Crawl, the Holetown Garden Party at St James Parish Church, 40th Anniversary Crop Over Flower Festival And Thanksgiving Church Service, Crop Over Heritage Bus Tour, Christ Church Carnival, 40th Anniversary Crop Over Lecture, Pan Yard Lime, Speightstown Market, Bridgetown Market Comes To Pelican and Roberts Eat Street at Bridgetown Market.
This year, Foreday Mornin’ will be held on Saturday, August 2 into August 3, instead of after the Pic–O–De–Crop Finals on August 1. The Ceremonial Delivery Of The Last Canes And Crop Over Feast will move to the Foursquare Sugar Factory & Museum in St Philip, and the Crop Over Read-IN will be held at Codrington College in St John. Junior Kadooment and the Junior Soca Monarch competition will once again merge and be held at the National Stadium, while the Sweet Soca/Party Monarch Semi-Finals will take place at Kensington Oval.