Barbadians can expect a very different Crop Over festival than the one they’ve come to expect, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office for Culture John King said Wednesday.
He told journalists that amid talks on plans to stage Crop Over this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbadians must be warned that there will be significant adjustments to key features of the mid-year festival that coincides with emancipation celebrations.
By month-end, the culture ministry is to issue a statement on the new-look Crop Over that will be in keeping with the COVID-19 protocols, he said.
“I will be able to give a full statement on what it’s going to look like, how it is going to be done and all of that. But we are really looking at extending the season of emancipation,” said King. “There will be events and different things but not in the form that people are accustomed to.”
While Crop Over was cancelled in 2020 when the pandemic began, Government has decided to go ahead with plans to stage the festival this year to allow Barbadians to express themselves and support and enjoy the best of what Barbados has to offer, the culture minister declared.
He said the effort is significantly more than a money-making exercise.
King said: “We also have people who will be dealing with a lot of trauma in terms of being locked down for a long time. So we have got to find ways to be able to engage people mentally and both physically in being able to have some things that people can actually, you know, get out there and enjoy themselves, taking into consideration all the other things that need to be done to keep them safe.”
The veteran entertainer-turned-politician was speaking during a function at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall where he accepted a presentation of a new song from entertainer Desmond Fowl Weekes. When asked what was being done to assist entertainers who are struggling to make ends meet because of their inability to work during the pandemic, King told journalists Government has been providing ongoing assistance to some of them by supporting projects.
King said he has had conversations with the Barbados Association of Creatives and Artistes (BACA) to inform the association about his ministry’s efforts to assist cash-strapped entertainers.
He said: “One of the things that I am looking at is a series of concerts that those musicians can actually be the ones that actually play these concerts and then we can get CBC [Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation] and all the other social media platforms to play them for free and that gives us a way to help them.
“And we are also looking at any projects that they have that we can still support, we will do that. So there are multiple ways that we are trying to do as much as we can under the circumstances.”
King also disclosed that the Ministry of Finance is in the process of putting measures in place to compensate promoters for losses incurred by cancelling their Old Year’s Night events.