Authorities are pleased with how this year’s Crop Over festivities turned out, and are hoping that it is the start of an improved and more exciting festival.
They have described this year’s summer festival as an avenue for people to just “be outside” after two years of restrictions, national lockdowns and uncertainties.
Reflecting on the festival, Minister with responsibility for Culture Dr Shantal Munro-Knight told Barbados TODAY while she was aware there was a lot of skepticism given the presence of the COVID-19 virus, she was pleased with the turnout of spectators.
“We are very, very happy, and I am going to be honest, it doesn’t mean that everything has been perfect, but we have done the best that we can, and just to see how Barbadians have come out. We have had an incident free season, Thank God for how he has covered us,” she said.
Munroe-Knight reflected on the Republic Bank Pandemonium that was held at the National Botanical Gardens, saying that was “one of the wonderful family events” she was especially proud of.
“I think what we have done differently this year is just to make sure we had events that everybody can feel that they are part of the season, part of Crop Over and that is the vibe we are going to continue for 2023,” she said.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins shared similar sentiments, stating that “people just want to be able to be outside and enjoy the things that are a part of who we are as Barbadians”.
She said she was pleased that the island was able to use approximately 70 influencers and international media from various source markets to help promote the festival.
“The majority of them have been to various fetes and events for the season as they spread the word that the Barbados Crop Over festival was back in all its glory.”
Cummins said she was excited about the possibilities for next year, adding that “this is just a resumption but we expect there is going to be a ramping up for 2023”.
Describing the festival as “fantastic”, Cummins, who sported a custom-made costume designed by Lauren Austin and was jumping with the band Aura, said the fact that people have been restricted over the past two years they were happy to welcome the opportunity “to just breathe”.
“So Crop Over this year has very much been about that,” she said.
“People who have never jumped before are outside and people who have never gone to shows and events before are outside because this is just an opportunity for Barbadians to just be and breathe again, and we are very happy to also welcome visitors who are joining with Barbadians in that opportunity to enjoy all Barbados has to offer,” she said.
Meanwhile, Director of Public Relations and Communications with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Aprille Thomas said not having a Crop Over for two years “we knew that we had to pull out all the stops this year to get people talking about it again”.
Reflecting on some of the events in which the social media influencers took part in order to promote the festival, Thomas said “that really started to get the wheels in motion for people to fly down to come to Barbados to know that it is back on”.
“So now those people have returned for the real deal they are sharing this with their followers and giving them updates on their favourite festival events, their favourite places they are staying and eating – everything. So they are getting a full picture of what it is to be a part of Crop Over and sending that message out to all of their followers,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Carol Roberts-Reifer described this year’s festival as a “general success” in light of constraints.
“I think from all reports Grand Kadooment was a general success , it must be taken within the context of where we are today after having been given permission to produce a Crop Over Festival at the end of February and being able to very quickly pull together a programme which was launched to the public in March and then co-ordinated with the unstinting support of partners , sponsors, stakeholder groups and service providers and artiste to culminate in the climax that we are currently enjoying. And to do so within the environment of a global pandemic and to do so in straitened economic circumstances that has affected us all and to do so with challenges in shipping, freighting and air travel .
“Is there work to be done ? Yes there is. Where they elements that we didn’t get quite right? Yes they were. But overall I would say that it was a great success . I ‘ve seen some of the videos from today, one in particular regarding dissatisfaction with the route and again I say please get all of the information and put it into context. The route was selected by the bandleaders, by an overwhelming majority and then we worked to the best of our ability to make it work for today.
“Will it work in an environment that is free of a pandemic or freer with a pandemic with a lot more freedom to do as we want. Who knows? But that is a discussion for the next day. On a day like today when the world is looking at us, it is a time to celebrate who we are and what we can do to build us up not to pull us down,” Roberts-Reifer said.