Organizers have hailed the just-ended 2016 Crop Over Festival as one of the best, thanks to the participation of locals and visitors, and the police for maintaining law and order.
“I want to thank all the stakeholders, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the sanitation [services], the calypsonians, masqueraders, and all the representative bodies for really coming together and making the festival the fantastic festival it was, and to Barbadians for giving us a violence-free festival” Cranston Browne, chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation, told Bajan Vibes today.
“Overall I thought it was a great festival, (even though) I don’t have any final figures as yet,” added Browne, noting that the ongoing jubilee celebrations for the island’s 50th Independence anniversary and the quality of the music also contributed to the “good vibe” of the festival.
“I think the country is in a good mood for the 50th anniversary, and … the majority of the music this year was really, really good. I think the music fuels the festival. Once you have good music and, as I said, the number of good songs this year far eclipsed anything we’ve had before in terms of good musical pieces.”
The NCF head acknowledged, however, that there is still room for improvement, particularly with regard to attracting more interest in Bridgetown Market, which was held over the weekend.
“This year, we introduced the Children’s Park on a bigger scale and that worked. I’ve already voiced that we need to do probably some water activities. We need to have some things happening down there that people can bring out their families and, you know, enjoy the craft and to make it not just only the stalls and somewhere just to stand and to eat and drink,” he said.
Browne added that he would like to see the reintroduction of the King and Queen of the bands. Looking ahead to next year, he said the NCF is planning to stage a special edition of Crop Over ahead of Barbados’ hosting of the 13th Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) from August 17 to 27, 2017.
The NCF head paid tribute to the late veteran band leader, Renee Ratcliffe, of Jump Promotions who passed away suddenly on Kadooment Day. Ratcliffe collapsed shortly after her band crossed the stage at the National Stadium. She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“On behalf of the NCF, I want to send our condolences to Renee’s family and the Jump Promotions band. It was a sad moment and the NCF will be paying tribute to Renee at a later date,” Browne said.