It was not a very good Crop Over for vendors at this year’s Bridgetown Market, many of whom complained that business was slow for a variety of reasons.
Even though thousands of people visited the biggest street fair of the festival, they “weren’t spending any money”, according to Diana Stuart, one of many vendors who rented stalls from the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) for the three-day event.
“The sales didn’t go so good at all. This year was poor, it was dead. People were on Spring Garden but nobody was spending any money,” Stuart told Barbados TODAY at the end of Grand Kadooment yesterday, adding that visitors to the fair had been complaining they simply did not have the funds to purchase any of her exotic birds.
“Everybody crying out that things hard and that this Crop Over they are poor. Even as I look around I can see some empty spaces. I had a sale yesterday and that was it,” she said.
The story was the same from first-time merchant Paula Harewood, who operated a food stall.
“Sales were terrible. This is not like a typical Crop Over, the patrons were almost non-existent. It has been really slow,” Harewood told Barbados TODAY.
She said the event lacked the supporting activities and entertainment that would attract would-be patrons, stressing that the market was “too dead to be advertised as a national festival”.
Like Harewood, Tia Bradshaw, who sold toys and games, complained about the absence of adequate entertainment, contending this was the main reason customers did not gravitate towards the stalls.
“Sales weren’t that good this year. Last year was the same thing, no difference. Most of the entertainment was too far away from the stalls, so most of the customers just pass and headed towards the music. Only on Sunday evening a music truck was set up closer to us and we had some customers, but otherwise we had nothing.
“Next year I think they should try to set up music at various points so people could stop, lime, eat and drink and buy all over Bridgetown Market, not just in one section,” Bradshaw said.
However, things were much better for souvenir salesman Wesley Granum, who boasted of good sales during the fair.
“Things have been quite good. The crowd this year has been relatively good,” Granum said.
“For me I have seen sales going good. I know some other vendors were complaining but I had a lot of Bajan Yankees and English coming to the stall to buy souvenirs, scarfs and flags to wave and jump with,” he stressed, while adding that it was refreshing that Crop Over was indident-free this year.
“There have not been any little fights or anything of the sort, not even at Foreday Mornin that had a big crowd like Kadooment . I am pleased everyone behaved themselves. The fighting and the killing is what normally upsets the festival and make people run away. I like a festival that is violence-free. It makes people come out and spend more,” Granum said.