Premium Kadooment band, Xhosa has had its ups and downs through its five years as a stakeholder in the Crop Over festival, but according to organizers, the band is back and it’s better for 2019.
On Sunday night the band’s vibrant colours were on full display during this year’s launch under the theme Ethos. Dozens rocked to the sweet sounds of soca for nearly six hours and band leaders have welcomed this as a promising sign of things to come.
However, it was during the main event which unfolded around 9:30 p.m., that Barbadians got their first glimpse of Xhosa’s costumes for this year.
“Tonight is amazing. Just to see people come through the door and want to see the costumes and support – that is important and helps us a lot also with our charity work. We’ve had our ups and downs and the fact that people are still here to show their support just makes our team and I push even harder,” said band leader Jeremy Nicholls. He revealed the theme Ethos was intended to highlight and celebrate the unique spirit of people.
Just months before, Nicholls was apologising to masqueraders after receiving a number of bad reviews on the road during last year’s Kadooment celebrations. With that experience now a fleeting memory, organisers have returned to the drawing board, intent on producing a new and improved premium experience for patrons at extremely competitive prices.
“Our prices are really good and some of our costumes are actually cheaper this year than last year. We changed our strategy and consolidated the band to focus on producing a better product, so a lot of the sections have teamed up to make it better. Xhosa is dedicated heavily to charity work, so we will continue to do what we have to do,” he added, while stressing that Xhosa was willing to cater for as many people as are interested.
He also called for greater efforts from all stakeholders to improve the competitiveness of the festival.
“Crop Over has always been seen as the second runner up to the Mecca, but Barbados is also very expensive and because other islands can package a very competitive product, it is really putting us on our game. The NCF is really working on uniting us for a strong push forward and I think it is the best way and it’s going to work,” he said.
The band promises to feature an array of unique sections which all surround this year’s common theme. Richard Rollocks, owner of the section Rhapsody, told Bajan Vibes he has been working with a talented costume designer from Trinidad and Tobago to bring his section to life.
“I am a structured person with a creative side and that creative side can be rebellious in terms of charting my own course and being a trendsetter and doing things differently… that is what Rhapsody means. In music and fashion, it speaks to different tonalities and colours and I consider myself to be different and I will experiment with different things,” said Rollocks who is also a banker by profession.
While revealing that he was catering for close to 150 revellers in his section, Rollocks stressed that over the years, he had developed a following and was focusing heavily on meeting their needs. As for the festival, he called on stakeholders to help transform it into a viable source of economic development for ordinary Barbadians.
“Every year it’s becoming more competitive because we have more and more carnivals emerging all over the world. We have to protect ours, because the creative industry is one in which the revenue permeates all sectors of society.
“Local seamstresses, tailors, dress makers, people in the fashion industry, people who do lighting, staging and fencing are involved. If we are talking economic recovery, we need the creative industry as a viable tool to help the wheels turn on the other end of the spectrum. Yes, we have banking and finance, but we can’t depend on that sector to do it alone. There are so many creatives in Barbados who don’t have to depend on government for employment because they create wealth with their hands. They need to be developed,” he urged, while lauding the efforts of the NCF’s new chairperson, Carol Roberts, for the strides made thus far. (KS)