There could be some major changes coming to the 2016 Crop Over Festival.
According to chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Cranston Browne and Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, the removal of restrictions on vendors and a move to have calypsonians in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition sing just one song, are among some of the recommendations that have been put forward.
And Lashley has given an assurance that if new legislation has to be passed for some of the changes to be implemented, it will be done.
The proposals were revealed on state-run CBC TV last night, during the first ever LIVE national consultation on Crop Over broadcast on state-run CBC TV last night.
Lashley explained that there had been several complaints by vendors about having to close their stalls early during Crop Over events.
He said it was an area which his Ministry was looking into.
“I certainly won’t sit here and not admit that there are some areas that we need to fix… and we are working on them. But there are several areas that we have to sit down and fix.
“Vendors complain that they are required to stop selling liquor for example at a specific time. That is really required under the Liquor Licenses Act and in the special legislation we are going to amend that Act to allow for a longer period,” he revealed.
“Also, the playing of music on Spring Garden. We want to designate Spring Garden as a Crop Over zone where special rules obtain, where the restrictions on time and on how long music can go will be removed, but we have to use legislation to do it,” Lashley noted.
Browne said there had also been a suggestion that the current format of singing two songs in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition be changed to just one song.
“That is the recommendation on the table and we will want very broad discussion nationally. What would happen is that you would sing two songs in the tent as normal, but the higher scoring song you would choose then to carry forward that song,” he explained.
“What that would also mean is that instead of carrying eight calypsonians to the finals, we would carry 16. That is the discussion. No final decision has been taken on that, as we want to hear calypsonians on it and we want to hear Barbadians on it.”
Veteran entertainer Mac Fingall explained that the high cost of production was one of the chief reasons behind the call for it to be changed.
Calypsonian Colin Spencer, who was present for the discussion, said he fully agreed with the proposal, but he wanted it done on a trial basis.
“I am fully in support of the one song because very often at Crop Over the crown is won and six weeks later Barbadians cannot remember what the second song of the winner was.
“But I believe it should not be a done deal. Let’s say the NCF should try it for the next two to three years to see how it works,” Spencer said.
“I’m in support of it if it’s going to be on a trial basis for lets say the next two to three years.”