Having won the prize for Best Junior Kadooment Band in 2016 and 2017 designer and bandleader Kevin Small sealed the deal by winning this year’s title yet again.
He won ahead of veteran Gwyneth Squires’ Los Barbados – The People Who Came which placed second and Trevor Nicholls’ Young Spirits Community Group – Mystical Angels in Fantasy.
“It is a great honour. It is a goal that I would have set for myself since 12 years ago when I started to be a part of Crop Over. Winning this for the third time is an overwhelming experience,” he told Barbados TODAY.
With tears running down his eyes, Small explained the many challenges he faced since he started the band last year.
“… This feels good after working so hard from after October to now. After all the challenges I had to overcome whether it was minimal sponsorship or simply not meeting deadlines I had set for myself. Doing this and having a nine to five job does take a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. But I take this art form very seriously. My primary focus is making sure that my revellers are satisfied.”
The band called Virtual Reality depicted the ever popular social media platforms. There were section names after WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat and You Tube. When asked about the concept for the band the former Ellerslie Secondary student said he had thought about it during last year’s Crop Over Season.
“I try to pay attention to what is going on. I am a lover of the social commentary genres of calypso. I try to use similar topics to tell a story. Virtual Reality came to me about two days before last year’s Junior Kadooment. I thought this would be a hit with the kids and I would also be able to educate them through the same technology that they use on daily basis.”
Fifth Element was the largest Junior Kadooment Band to parade in front of the judges at Kensington Oval Saturday with 302 revellers.
“We launched in April and in two to three weeks our first section was sold out. In January we had a pre-registration period where three-quarters of the band was registered. I allow my regulars and repeat masqueraders to have a look before the general public. I was looking to increase the band by 50 kids and that increase went up to 100 kids. I am sure the increase for next year maybe even greater. I do thank the masqueraders for such a response to the band.”
Small said without his team none of his achievements would be possible. He thanked them for continued support and for putting in the long hours at the mas camp. He then singled out three people including his parents who support him 200 per cent but who are also his biggest critics. He said they keep him “grounded”.
“I did not do this alone. I am surrounded by a fantastic team of dynamic people and I wish to thank them all. But I have to mention by name three of them: Andre Grant and my parents Alison Herbert and Erskine Small.”
As for next Monday’s Grand Kadooment he acknowledged that he is still green in that area. However, with Junior Kadooment out of the way, it is now full steam ahead for his senior’s band called Street Talk.
The 26-year-old has also won last year’s Best Band prize on Kadooment Day copping the title of Best Designer. Having won both the juniors and seniors he was awarded a car for the grand prize. It was the first time such an award was bestowed.
“This is third year of being on my own re: Grand Kadooment. I will give it time to get where it needs to be. Plans are full steam ahead. All systems are in place. Grand Kadooment band Street Talk telling the tales of certain streets. We have 120 revellers. We are small but we will be effective.”
Although he was involved in the festival for 12 years it was only five years ago that he decided to go at it alone. So what does it mean to have accomplished all of this over the last five years?
“Five years has been a long journey. We started with 56 masqueraders to 302 yesterday, which is growth. It shows we are doing something right. The titles and winning is a means of affirmation that we are doing something right. We may not be the big name bands in Grand Kadooment and Junior Kadooment but we are at hype and our name is becoming a household name across the island. It is also a means of going to the next level and to show creativity in all aspects both in costume and presentation and customer service. That is one of the things we pride ourselves on delivering quality products to our revellers.” (IMC)