New producers for Cohobblopot, an extended route for Foreday Morning, and new plans for Soca Royale.
These were just some of the preliminary plans for Crop Over 2015 announced by Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley at the Crop Over Press Briefing at his office in Sky Mall at Haggatt Hall in St Michael earlier today.
The minister announced that Volume Entertainment would be the new producer of Cohobblopot this year.
“Volume Entertainment . . . will be launching in social media tonight. Cohobblopot this year, I believe, will be something that everyone will want to attend. I cannot go much more into detail, but suffice to say the NCF is at a very advanced stage with its negotiations with Volume Entertainment . . . .
“Based on the preliminary details that I have, when we announce the details of it after those negotiations are completed, I believe everyone РР both in Barbados and outside РР will want to ensure they get their tickets early this year. When you see what they have in store for Cohobblopot, then you will be as excited as I am,” Lashley stated.
Last year, there were issues with having the main promoter of Cohobblopot dropping out and the National Cultural Foundation having, in a last-ditch effort, to save it. Lashley noted the NCF had put some rules in place that would prevent any promoter from doing that in future.
“I have asked the NCF to put into the contract a penalty that should deter [such],” he said.
With regard to Foreday Morning, revellers will now be able to enjoy a longer route after complaining last year of its being too short and their not having enough time to jump.
NCF chief executive officer Cranston Browne said there would be an earlier starting time for the Foreday Morning jump.
“There will be an additional assembly point which would create a slightly longer route. Some of the bands will be leaving from Queen’s Park now, and the cut-off time stays. But they will be starting at 10 p.m,” he announced.
Lashley expressed his delight in how much Foreday Morning had grown this year, even though there had been increased costs.
“What that means is that the interest is there. Persons gravitate towards the ambiance and the coolness of the night, and that translates itself in a significant amount of interest.
“This year there has been an increase in the registration fee from $500 to $750 for bands between 50 and 500 in number; $1,000 for bands over 500. Fifty-four bands will be expected on the road.
“Last year, we had approximately 44 bands parading РР thousands of revellers down Spring Garden,” he said.
And those who would have called for both Soca Royale events Sweet Soca and Party Monarch to be hosted at night, have got their wish. The competition will now start at 6:30 p.m.
And those who usually use the day as a picnic event, will still have the opportunity to do so, because gates will still open at noon. The minister said that in making those changes, the overall ambiance of the even had been considered.
He also announced new changes to the heritage aspect of Crop Over.
“We are going to have a new cultural heritage product by means of the Crop Over Heritage Bus Tour. We have always stressed the importance of heritage within the context of Crop Over, and we celebrate the importance of our UNESCO World Heritage organization.
“And I must say that I have experienced the Heritage Walk in Bridgetown. It feels like Crop Over because of the number of people coming down. It shows me that people are still interested.”
The Crop Over Heritage Bus Tour will replace that particular walk and it will bring that history to life in theatrical presentations of word, song and dance on a journey in air-conditioned buses РР moving from Cavan’s Lane moving to different plantations,” the minister announced.
Further, Lashley announced that the NCF would be producing over 30 events this season, and should be commended.
“Over 30 events to be executed over a ten-week period РР inclusive of one Mega Cavalcade, one Pan Weekend, a full visual arts festival complete with a competition. We also have a number of heritage events . . . .
“All of these events are designed to make it interesting and diverse,” he said.