He has had a good run for 21 years, but this Crop Over could be the final curtain call for Mackie Holder and his band Wednesday 2000.
While not speaking definitely, Mackie said he couldn’t see himself bringing a band after this year because it was no longer profitable to him.
“After 21 years, things have changed. It’s more of a business now than anything else. Everyone has their time. Crop Over and partying are a young people’s game. And with the dynamics, it’s not my business.
“I would have to take a different direction to go into that aspect of it. You know now you have to adhere to BRA and VAT, and all these different things. They are lot of dynamics to a band now, which are totally different; which the public do not know about and do not understand.
“I don’t really want to do that at this stage of my life. I have more important things at this stage of my life. It’s probably easier to bow out and go jump with someone else.
“Twenty-one is quite a good number to call it quits. At this stage, I can’t see it happening after this year. But people say I say so all the time; but I really cannot see it happening after this year. Like I said, it’s not my business, and you have to set up as a business now.
“Just to do a Crop Over band, the benefit is not worth it,” he explained.
In an interview with Bajan Vibes from his very breezy and picturesque Four Roads, St Peter home, Mackie reminisced on the good times, the rough times, the frustrations –– you name it; but one thing for certain: he would not trade the experience for the world.
“I like it. It’s been a good run. It’s the one thing I do for fun. It’s a family thing as well. The entire family is pretty much involved at some level. I think it’s an important aspect of our culture. Nothing like getting down the road looking good and having fun,” Mackie said.
He reflected on their first Kadooment band, and the fun time they had. He told Bajan Vibes he could still remember the day like it was yesterday.
“The first year was lots of fun. We got a group of people in a band and chipped down the road. It was a lot cheaper then. It was kind of organic. It was really easy to put together.
“Wednesday 2000 came about from a need to have a community group; so we thought that a good way to get involved would be to do a Kadooment band. We did the usual two years of T-shirt, as it was back then. Our first band had 800 and something people. We started very high,” he boasted.
Mackie said it was always his dream to have a Kadooment band because of his love for culture, and he would always remember the time on the road.
“I’ve always been interested in culture in the wider sense of things. I like antique stuff, especially. I’ve always been into music –– from back in the days when Crop Over started when you had like three people in a tent; that kind of thing.
“Twenty-one years is a very long time. We won prizes every year except one –– on our first attempt as a costume band, which was done here. We thought it was so wonderful and so great, but of course it was not so wonderful and great; but we had a ball. That was our main thing,” Mackie said with a laugh.
He recounted one of the most challenging years he had ever had, but said it was also the most fun year, when he found out at the last minute that the band designer had not done the costumes.
“. . . We were going to ten to ten. I decided to check. And good thing I did; . . . there were no costumes. None at all! . . . But we have a good group of loyal people who were able to pull it off. We worked non-stop.
“I called the people and said, ‘No feting tonight’, and we pulled it together. We had to have a band.
“We were not going to have a band? That would have been scandalous. We won lots of prizes that year actually. It was great,” the bandleader recalled.
Mackie spoke to the “firsts” his band was involved in, saying even though they had been scaled down a lot since the start, he was glad to see them continue to grow in other bands.
“Wednesday 2000 was the first band to introduce a full breakfast. When we did it, some people were up in arms. We even got cursed on the radio and stuff like that; but it’s the norm now.
“We took live bands on the road. We were the first to take Lil Rick when no one wanted to. All of these things have evolved, and I’m not so sure I want to do that; and I’m not so sure it’s worth it any more.”
And one thing that stands out for him over the last 21 years is the relationships he has built with persons from all over the world.
“Just last week I got an email from one of our band members who lives in Norway. We have built a lot of friendships and relationships. We have had people who have got married and so on from in the band,” he said, adding that having the band was one of the longest things he has ever done.
And just as they have done for the past 21 years, Mackie and his team intend to do it big for this season and bow out in fine style.
So expect a big “shebang”!
“We will be bringing a Foreday Morning [Color Me Bad, Anything Goes] and Kiddies band this year as well. The theme for Kadooment: 21: The Times Of Our Lives . . . ,” Mackie explained.
The costumes for this year were designed by the Holders Designers, the main designer being daughter Nikki.