#AuraFaCropOva was the chant at the Bellevue Plantation on Sunday night. The popular Grand Kadooment band launched its 2019 theme Birth of the Phoenix with much fanfare. The venue was reminiscent of the road experience on Kadooment Monday with the Aura Experience trucks carefully positioned throughout the venue for optimal viewing pleasure.
Locals squeezed in front the stage, at the sidelines and on top of the Aura trucks to get the best view of the ‘birth’.
Now in its third year, the band returned with bright, bold and colourful costumes designed by Lauren Austin, Trinidadians Rawl Permmanand and Shawn Dharaj. The seven sections referred to mythical creatures which included Lycan, Pegasus, Pixie, Fairy, Gryphon, Drakaina and the headlining section Phoenix designed by lead designer Lauren Austin. The price of the costumes start at BBD$800.
General Manager of the Aura Experience Chris Hassell told Bajan Vibes that the band was pleased with the warm reception from locals and visitors.
“We have built a reputation quite quickly but we really are trying to perfect what we have here and help contribute to the entire experience that is Kadooment Day,” he said.
Aura has been sharing the Crop Over experience at carnivals in other territories such as Jamaica, Trinidad and The Bahamas.
Hassell pointed out that the business of carnival needed to be taken seriously locally as bands were not only competing amongst themselves but against other carnivals in the Caribbean region.
“Sometimes the perception is that a band is fun, and a band is absolutely fun but there are many components to a band; it really is a true business. You have obligations, you have the infrastructure of our trucks and all of the financial aspects that go with a band and I think sometimes… there needs to be a greater education to the public and persons who are interested in forming a band as to what is the process and business aspect of a band,” he said.
“In some countries they certainly see it as a business and we are still evolving in that. Through partnership with the NCF and Government… we are hopeful that all the bands will develop. It really doesn’t benefit Barbados if we have bands that are having challenges because it affects the overall reputation of Crop Over,” Hassell added.
The general manager of Aura Experience also emphasised that the Kadooment experience must be continuously improved and updated so the island would have a competitive advantage.