The decision by two bands to pull out of Grand Kadooment does not appear to be bothering Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Cranston Browne.
He insisted yesterday that it was not strange for bands to drop out of Crop Over’s main event, and revealed that registration this year is the highest it had been in 15 years.
Browne was speaking at the official launch of Republic Bank Grand Kadooment, held at the bank’s Warrens, St Michael branch, against the background of popular band Fantasy and Ravers opting out of the big jump-up, citing financial challenges.
“It’s nothing new to suggest that bands withdraw from the festival or merge with other bands in any given year. For whatever reason, be it financial or otherwise, a band may simply just not be able to meet their expected target and sometimes have to make the unfortunate decision to withdraw,” he said. “We are in the Crop Over season and getting close to that season that some refer to as silly season, so we can expect the controversy.”
To support his contention that it was no big deal, Browne said that participation in Grand Kadooment saw a 37.5 per cent increase between 2014 and 2017.
This year, 33 bands have registered to go on the road on August 7.
“Incidentally, this year’s registration is the highest recorded perhaps in the last 15 years, and if you did an in-depth analysis of the history of these bands, you would note that many of them are returning bands, some dating back to over 35 years, and yet we still have new ones entering the fray from year to year,” Browne said.
He therefore warned stakeholders that with the festival attracting international attention, they should be cautious of what they put out there.
“Republic Bank Grand Kadooment is one of our main showcase windows to sell this beautiful country to the world. . . .This is why we continue to advocate for responsible behaviour from all stakeholders during the festival, remembering that the image we portray is what people will take away. The things we say and do become a national concern, affecting the country and this festival we so love,” Browne stressed, contending that “protecting this festival should be our number one priority”.