Band houses are putting the final touches on costumes for Barbados’ youngest revellers, 48 hours ahead of Junior Kadooment slated for Saturday.
Some bandleaders, while seeing improvement in their numbers believe there is scope for more financial support for the major Crop Over event.
Bandleader for Eunoia Kids Jason Thompson reported they would be expecting 300 to 400 masqueraders for their depiction of It’s A Celebration. This represents a major improvement to their debut when there were approximately 110 masquerading children. The band is now in its second year.
Meanwhile, the award-winning Fifth Element will have over 300 masqueraders descending upon the Kensington Oval come Saturday. Bandleader Kevin Small has claimed the title Designer of the Year three consecutive times and he’s hoping to lay claim to the $20,000 cash prize with this year’s theme Protect Our Coast. Five out of the seven sections are sold out and the remaining two have limited spots, assistant bandleader, Andre Grant told Barbados TODAY.
The band has noted an increase in the public’s interest, due to their accommodating a payment programme as well as a total package.
“Fifth Element has been doing well for six years now. We have had a lot of winnings in those six years and the response has been amazing. They are loving the product and they are appreciative of the service as well,” Grant explained.
However, he suggested that more attention be paid to the Junior Kadooment. He suggested that event solely targeted to children lacked a “pull” factor aside from the jump.
“We need to have more soca artistes giving the kids an event to go to because they are the ones that are literally singing their songs and it needs to be promoted a little bit better as an event for kids to get them involved in the festival. I think sometimes that maybe why there is a drop in attendance,” said the Fifth Element official.
Veteran bandleader Betty West pleaded for more support for the junior jump. West, who boasts of over 20 years in costume design, expressed her fears that there will be a drop in attendance at this year’s Junior Kadooment.
“I feel the attendance is going to be lower, but the beauty about it is that they have the schools involved which is very good,” West said.
The legendary costume designer said that the Kiddies Kadooment was not profitable and she was also experiencing challenges getting sponsorship for both Kiddies and Grand Kadooment bands.
“The Kiddies Kadooment is not profitable because parents are saying they are buying back-to-school clothing so it is not really easy. I like to create quality and it costs me more to produce than I sometimes sell it for,” expressed West.
West will be accommodating 250 young revellers on Saturday. She said her theme Once Upon A Rhyme has been well received. Two of her five sections were sold out and there was a late rush for registration as well.
Given the decline in the market for Kiddies and Grand Kadooment, West said she was targeting the overseas revelers, specifically visitors and returning nationals who wanted to participate in the culmination of the Crop Over Festival.
“I have to concentrate now on marketing overseas because I cannot see it getting any better at the moment. Last year we had challenges and this year is worst and I cannot see things changing overnight so we as bandleaders have to look and focus on what has happened,” West emphasised.
“Crop Over brings in a lot of funds to Barbados, especially Kadooment and I think we should have a little more support. We get subventions but we need money and by we I mean all bandleaders,” she also added. [email protected]