Festival Designer of the Year Kevin Small now has the keys to a fully loaded Mazda 2.
The young designer got the $68,000 vehicle from Consolidated Finance, Hastings today, weeks after veteran Kadooment band leaders raised questions about him winning the title – which came with a prize car for the first time this year.
Asked how he felt about winning the car after the controversy, a humble Small said: “For me, I see it as a learning experience and at this point it is water under the bridge for me and on to Crop Over 2018.”
He added that he was very excited about his victory, and collecting his winnings was a humbling experience.
Small admitted, though, that he had not expected to win the title.
“[Winning] the Festival Designer of the Year was always one of my dreams, but I would never have guessed I would have been the first one to walk away with the car,” he said, adding that his victory might also have come as a shock to others who underestimated him because of his age.
“I am a young person and I could have been one of those on Spring Garden with the shooting, but I took a different light in my growing up and this is definitely a stepping stone for me and a means of encouragement,” Small added.
His mother, Alison Herbert, and father, Erskine Small, were present at today’s handover ceremony. While Herbert was overcome with emotion, Small’s father said he had told his son to put his best foot forward and he was therefore not surprised when he was announced the winner.
Small said his immediate and extended family would be celebrating his achievement for the entire weekend.
He also had some words of advice for other young bandleaders.
“Just stay focused and be strong. Things will happen. Things would have happened for me as a young designer, being under scrutiny of my peers and the public. I try to hold strong with the encouragement of my team members and other persons. So, I would encourage them to fasten your wheel to persons that were there for you through and through and you will be good,” he said.