It was definitely a festive Friday for hundreds of locals and visitors who gathered at the Pelican Village location yesterday for the weekly Festive Fridays Pelican Village Night Market.
To make things even better for the large crowd, tourism officials used the occasion for the launch of the Caribbean Identity Crop Over campaign – a partnership between the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL), for the 2019 Crop Over season under the slogan ‘Crop Over Correct’.
While the Festive Fridays event started at the usual 4 p.m., shortly after 8 o’clock patrons were treated to a line-up of live performances, which included decorated Trinidadian soca artist Machel Montano, for the introduction of the Caribbean Identity campaign.
Prior to Machel taking the stage, however, the hundreds of people along Trevor’s Way/Princess Alice Highway, just outside the Pelican Village location, were treated to a display of stilt walkers, a Mother Sally and a Tuk band as they gyrated to infectious rhythms.
Following a couple hours of deejay music, eating and drinking and some shopping, by 8:20 p.m. officials took to the stage to kick off the Caribbean Identity campaign with a few short speeches.
During the night, one lucky patron also walked away with a Caribbean Airlines ticket to any destination of her choice in the Caribbean, for performing a special dance.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) William ‘Billy’ Griffith said he was delighted to partner with CAL and the NCF to put on another spectacular Crop Over event this year.
He said with ramped up efforts to woo more Caribbean travellers to Barbados, the island was already seeing some success as evident in an increased appetite based on online impressions.
“Caribbean Airlines was recently named the official airline for Crop Over. This will undoubtedly open more gateways to Barbados much to the delight of carnival and festival goers across the region,” said Griffith.
Executive Marketing Manager of CAL Alicia Cabrera was also pleased with the partnership, and explained that the Caribbean Identity campaign aimed to promote a “fusion of culture” from across the region.
However, it was then time for live performances, by which time the crowd had swollen significantly.
First on stage was Marvay, followed by Peter Ram, both delivering brief but energetic performances.
The light intermittent showers did not stop the waving and shouting crowd from having a great time during the free event.
By 8:55 p.m. Machel graced the stage , starting with his popular Fast Wine.
As the crowd screamed and patrons inched even closer to the stage, which was set up in the streets, he performed several of his more recent lyrics including Dr Mashup.
An already pumped crowd also enjoyed the energetic performance of one of Barbados’ most admired bashment soca artistes Lil Rick, who was his usual crowd-pleasing self.
There was just one disappointment for hundreds of cruise visitors, they did not get to see those acts.
In fact, leading up to the 8 o’clock mark, concerned residents and anxious cruise passengers who were scheduled to leave the Bridgetown Port between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. started to get agitated and worried as they expressed eagerness to see the live performances.
Unaware that the Caribbean Identity launch was not to be confused with the usual Festive Fridays, most of the tourists left without getting that little taste of paradise they were eager for – the live acts.
However, tourism officials told Barbados TODAY they were aware of the time that the Caribbean Identity campaign would take place and the time the cruise vessels were to depart.
They indicated that it was a deliberate move to have the Festive Fridays starting at its usual 4 p.m., followed by the campaign launch around 8 o’clock.