This year’s new route for Grand Kadooment has been given the thumbs up by the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM).
President of BAM Anthony Layne told Barbados TODAY that was the general consensus coming out of a meeting with its members on Thursday night, where a ‘post-mortem’ was done on Monday’s jump-up.
For the first time, revellers jumped from Warrens to the Clyde Walcott Roundabout via the ABC Highway, onto the JTC Ramsay Roundabout before returning to the Clyde Walcott Roundabout and finishing at the National Stadium.
While there were mixed reviews from spectators and vendors on the new route, Layne said bandleaders were definitely in favour.
He admitted, though, that some tweaks would be necessary to improve the experience for revellers.
“The general review that we have gotten from the BAM revellers and members is that the route was very favourable. They liked the route, albeit it is a little long so, generally, coming out of the discussions is that it needs probably some tweaking and so on, but there is a general liking to the route,” he said.
“Some of them said it was the first time they didn’t have to worry about somebody jumping in the band or snatching their drink and they also said they felt quite safe. The width of the road was also very important to the revellers and they had time to jam without any issues. As far as I am aware, there were no issues at all. I’m not speaking for the police but I haven’t heard of any issues whatsoever on Kadooment Day up on that highway.”
However, Layne did not indicate whether the members preferred the new route over the customary jump up beginning at the National Stadium and climaxing on the Mighty Grynner Highway.
He estimated that around 3 000 revellers were in the 13 bands that took part in Grand Kadooment.
The BAM head said the majority of bands had between 100 to 200 revellers, with only “one or two” having slightly more.
He admitted that with those reduced numbers it had been a challenging year for bandleaders, noting that before the COVID-19 pandemic which had put the Crop Over Festival on pause for two years, approximately 5 000 to 6 000 revellers would take to the streets for Grand Kadooment.
“It was a very difficult year in terms of getting people into the bands. I guess people were a little bit [hesitant] about the COVID and all of that. We thought we could have done a little better but at the end of the day, it is what it is. Those are the numbers and whether you have 100 or 500 the important thing is to make sure that those 100 have a good time, enjoy themselves and have good things to say, and that’s what the bands did,” Layne said.
He said he expected a better Crop Over in 2023 and hoped the majority of bands would be able to launch by February or March next year.
“Right now, Crop Over 2023 is on, we don’t have to wait for anything, so we’ll be moving out there and starting to plan early. Indeed, some bands have already started to plan and are putting plans in place for 2023. The advice is to start early and launch early,” he said.