Fresh Fest

Three growing Crop-Over events are shifting venues, while there will be introduction of a new event for the 2013 festival.

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley and festival coordinators announced this morning at the 2013 Crop-Over breakfast launch that the Sweet Soca semifinals will be headed to the Party Stand, Pan in De City is bound for Speightstown and the folk concert, from the Steel Shed to Frank Collymore Hall.

In an interview-like segment during what was called the Crop-Over Breakfast Show, Lashley told an audience of sponsors and stakeholders that the 2012 festival was a “phenomenal success”.

He said one of the biggest growing events, Soca Royale had seen more than 13,000 patrons and Pan Fusion, Pan Pun De Sand and the gospel concert has also seen increased numbers, though no figures were given.

He announced: “For 2013, we will continue to build on the excitement of the festival. The Crop-Over Opening Gala will now be a completely free event. In 2012 it was free only to children, in 2013 it will be free to everyone…

“We are planning a new event to kick off Crop-Over 2013. Following the Cavalcades we are planning what we call a Crop-Over Preview and that is an event that will climax the Cavalcades and will truly provide a taste of what is in store for Crop-Over 2013,” he said.

He announced too that improvements would be coming to Foreday Mornin’ revelry and next year would see increased lighting and additional bathrooms along the route. The National Cultural Foundation officials were also looking to see how they could “improve the route” he added, not ruling out the possibility of a longer stretch to jump.

Based on requests as well, he said Sweet Soca semis would now be judged with a live band, as opposed to the recorded track concept many entertainers criticised last year at the LIME grounds in Wildey. In 2013, that event will be shifted as well to the Party Stand and auditors PriceWaterhouse would be on board from the onset.

The minister said as well that they would be working closely with the party promoters to revamp the approvals process that saw many complaining last year about procedures and permissions that forced some of them to cancel events.

Lashley said they were hoping to have police, fire, VAT and such agencies that promoters had to apply for their licences together “in one seamless process”.

Along with additional workshops between judges and calypsonians, and workshops for pan with the introduction this year of the pan yard concept more familiar with Trinidad and Tobago where the public will be able to see pan bands rehearsals and preparations for main events, the minister said there were plans afoot to move at least one pan event.

The introduction of a Pan In De City & Cruise, PR consultant Margaret Allman-Goddard told Barbados TODAY after the event, would allow a limited number of persons to purchase tickets to sail from the City down the west coast to Speightstown, with a selected pan group providing entertainment, where the actual event would take place.

She said it was still too early in the planning stages to give full details on that event, but that tickets would be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis and once the vessel was full all other hopeful patrons would have to make their way north for the official concert. (LB)

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