This year’s last canes will be heading to the island’s first major port and commercial center – Speightstown – on June 8.
The official launch of Crop Over and the ceremonial delivery of the last canes will kick off in the former mecca of the sugar industry. The announcement was made Wednesday morning at First Citizens Broad Street as stilt walkers, dancers and masquerades stopped traffic to ring in the biggest festival of the year. The theme for the First Citizens Crop Over launch is Journey of the Last Cane.
Event producer Ayesha Gibson-Gill disclosed that the event will be a reminder to the public about the social and economic contributions the sugar cane industry made to Barbados and why the Crop Over Festival is celebrated.
The launch, which will be held at Speightstown Playing Field, will include a festival fair and a folk concert featuring the legendary spirits of Speightstown. Gibson-Gill said the Journey of the Last Cane will depict “who we are, where we came from and where we need to go”.
Chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Carol Robert-Reifer urged all Barbadians to get on board and join in the three-month festivities. She emphasized that the festival was only as good as the contribution of its stakeholders. “For visitors, from the time you arrive, your experience should be one that is warm and welcoming right through to your departure and for locals there should be several reminders of opportunities for you to participate.
“Whether you put on a costume and dance in the streets, whether you hang out with your friends at a party or community lime, whether you pay for a costume for your child to take part in the Junior Kadooment … each of us should find a piece of the festival that suits us and make the most of it,” said the NCF CEO.
While also touching on the competition that Crop Over was facing for international carnivals, Robert-Reifer stated that the Crop Over Festival, which is on the top 30 list for best carnivals in the world, must be continuously perfected.
She said the competition from other markets must serve as a reminder as to “how delicate and precious the festival is to our culture, to our psyche and to our economy and how we constantly have to be reviewing and amending and tweaking and improving in all the areas that we can”. (KK)