“De pipe burst. De pipe buss. BOOF!!” Brucelee Almightee compared the public’s overflowing excitement for Crop Over’s return to a fixture buckling under immense water pressure.
It was an excitement that could be heard in his voice. An excitement seen in his sweat-soaked shirt. An excitement shared by everyone at Jscape Bar in Dash Gap, St. Michael, for the second iteration of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF)’s Crop Over Sweet Limes last weekend.
Stoking that enthusiasm was the aim of these events, said Senior Business Development Manager of the NCF, Andre Hoyte.
“For two years we have been working hard behind the scenes to generate solutions for the eventual return of Crop Over,” he said.
The result was a reintroduction of the Sweet Limes (last held in 2007, Hoyte estimates) to give patrons a taste of the upcoming festival. Think Crop Over Cavalcades, but on a smaller scale.
This decision was to provide community bars, hard hit by the effects of COVID, with some much-needed business.
So far, the event has graced Thelma’s Place in River Land, St. Philip, Scotland View Bar in Indian Ground, St. Peter and JScape, Dash Road, St Michael.
A pleasing by-product of this effort was the more intimate setting it created for entertainers who reconnected with fans and introduced new tunes. Patrons could directly tell Brucelee how much they like “Mauby,” and feel “Nostalgic” with Mikey and Mole.
This setup benefits deejays, too, building their set lists.
“The Sweet Limes are a great experience,” said Dannilo Hutchinson, one-half of the disc jockey duo Hutchy & Sizz.
“It’s really allowing the deejays to get familiar with the music, and the response from the general public to it.”
Nothing summed up being at the event more than seeing Spiderman, drinks in hand and pelting waist. Even though he could’ve stayed in New York and caught the event’s broadcast on the Barbados Crop Over Festival Facebook page.
“The goal of [the live stream] is to get people overseas watching, then get people at home to come down,” said host of each NCF live broadcast, Paula-Anne Jackman.
The self-dubbed ‘Crop Over Baby’ was giddy as she shared how much she enjoys engaging with patrons at these limes.
“The energy is nice… It’s really positive.
Everybody just wanted to be back outside!”
One of the event’s sponsors, Banks Beer, was more than happy to partner with the NCF.
“As the beer of Barbados, we are delighted for the return of our festival,” said Leanne Hall, Category Manager of Banks’ Brewed Products.
“So we grabbed the opportunity with both hands to be back outside with friends and family.”
Other sponsors lending their support include R.L. Seale, with their E.S.A. Fields and Old Brigand brands, Hanschell Inniss with Johnnie Walker, and Flow.
Throughout the night, lucky party-goers had several opportunities to win prize packs filled with goodies.
Ashley Dyall, Marketing Officer at the NCF, explained why the Foundation chose these items like reusable cups, bandanas, shot glasses and hand sanitisers.
“We wanted to leave the environment as clean as possible hence the reusable cups.
As you know every Bajan loves something to wave so we felt the bandanas would be nice keepsakes for the festival and since we’re still in a pandemic the hand sanitisers are a hit with patrons.”
It may be what some continually describe as the “new normal” but for the festival, the same old enthusiasm is still here as the Sweet Limes are catering to feelings.
A steady flow of patrons came through the gate, jamming with friends and getting familiar with new music.
Then with a mask and a few sprays of alcohol on the hands in the mix, it was time to unwind and party. What once felt out of reach is now just a few sleeps away. Crop Over is here again! And, until the major events are staged, fans must simply take in some of the vibes at the sweet limes.
Upcoming Crop Over Sweet Limes are Johnnie Walker Sweet Lime at Kings & Queens Bar, Bow Road, St Michael, on June 25; Banks Crop Over Sweet Lime at Rock Net Grill, St.James, on June 30; E.S.A. Field White Rum Sweet Lime at Dinah’s, Bathsheba, St Joseph, on July 1 and Smirnoff Ice Sweet Lime on Thursday, July 7, at Lime Bar, Stadium Road, St Michael. (PR)