Veteran entertainer John King is calling for the Pic-O-De-Crop competition to return to the National Stadium and for an increase in prize monies for Crop Over winners as part of sweeping changes to the annual festival.
He contends that the decision to push the calypso competition back by a day to the Saturday and have Foreday Morning jump up on the Friday are mere “window dressing”.
“Kensington Oval is definitely not the place for Pic-O-De-Crop because of the fall off in the audience, but I think that if you’re going to rebuild, then you need to go back to an atmosphere that is more conducive to the audience that used to come out to it before. It needs back its intimacy,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“It also needs its prominence in terms of the advertising of it. When you look at the advertising of Party Monarch and Sweet Soca and you look at the advertising for Pic-O-De-Crop, you can see a distinct difference.”
The former monarch described the Pic-O-De-Crop competition as “stale” and said Cohobblopot needs revamping to showcase all aspects of the festivity, including drama and King and Queen of the Band.
“A lot of the events have become stale and so we need to retool, we need to sometimes sit down and look at some of the things that we did in the past, how well we did them, and probably go back and look at what were we doing then that made them so successful,” he pointed out.
“If you say to me then that people aren’t coming then you need to do the leg work that needs to be done to educate people and create a new audience. You can’t have things going on and just expect people to come year in, year out if it’s not constantly evolving, constantly becoming more exciting . . . .
“When you start talking about the all inclusiveness of the sharing of that financial pie, you got producers, songwriters, bandleaders, all these people who play a very important role in the development of Crop Over. If you look at what they’re given in terms of these competitions it really is not, in any form, shape or fashion, equal to the amount of work that goes into it.”
King has suggested that Crop Over become more decentralised, that the public transportation system be adjusted to accommodate people living in rural areas who want to attend events during the festival, and that the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) get involved in all-inclusive fetes targeted at international stars.
“That is something that we must embrace and must try to even expand upon ourselves. With the popularity of Rihanna and having seen her pictures on Instagram or whatever with her dealings with Crop Over, I am sure that that has influenced a lot of persons in that league to come to Barbados to enjoy what we have to offer,” he added.