By Shamar Blunt
Bandleaders have already started preparing for a full return of the 2023 edition of Barbados’ biggest summer festival.
President of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM) Jason Thompson told Barbados TODAY that members were extremely excited for the upcoming Crop Over season, particularly with the recent announcement that Grand Kadooment will return to its traditional route following a change in 2022.
“We’ve started our preparations in terms of preparing our prototypes and we are ready for launch season. So bands will begin to launch very shortly in March and April, and
costumes will be out for early registration so that we can be all down the traditional route – the Mighty Grynner Highway – for 2023.”
“We are all looking to increase our revellers from last year within the COVID environment. You would have seen small numbers due to persons not being sure of protocols, probably late launches for some bands where persons were not sure if they were going to jump, changes of route, all different kinds of things would have affected persons coming out last year. So now that everything has returned to the traditional Grand Kadooment, we are expecting those numbers to return back to the traditional route.”
Asked about the prospects of having a high turnout of visitors signing up for bands this year, Thompson said the response to Carnival in Trinidad last month has given band leaders a positive outlook for what is to come for Crop Over.
“We have been watching Trinidad Carnival to take some energy from that. Trinidad Carnival was pretty successful. The bands were well patronised with masqueraders, the vibe was nice, the music was nice, the energy was nice [and] we also had an element of Barbados in Trinidad for Carnival – Krave The Band – and all reports from Krave is that masqueraders are ready, everybody is ready for Crop Over and Grand Kadooment 2023,” the BAM president said.
Thompson, who is also the head of the Hijack band, stated that the return of Junior Kadooment this year was particularly welcomed because of the Junior Masquerade Project in 2022 which offered several costume making workshops for students in many of the island’s schools.
“Last year was a little disappointing that [we] did not have the Junior Kadooment but we had the in-school programme and that was successful, where we were able to go around to different villages and showcase what the schools would have created.
“But we are glad to be back to Junior Kadooment finally after a three-year pause. All the Junior Kadooment band leaders are excited [and] they are ready,” Thompson said.