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‘Festival at crossroad’

It’s time for Crop-Over, which is billed as the sweetest summer festival to “break away” from that.

Baje International’s Richard Haynes told Barbados TODAY there was a need for re-programming how people think about the festival and then marketing it to understand how great it really was.

“I believe we’ve reached the crossroad where the younger generation, as in Generation X and Generation Z and younger, who have all been born since Crop-Over was created, to us it’s not a summer festival – it really isn’t.

“It’s a part of our life, it’s a part of our DNA, it’s a part of who we are. It’s a part of our identity as Bajans. Whereas to our parents and grandparents obviously, it would have been a festival created while they were adults [and] it wouldn’t have the same kind of impact that it does for us,” he said in the telephone interview.

“Similar to Trinidad which is into the third and fourth generation of mas’, we’re now taking on a different respect and appreciation for what this festival is. It is a part of our culture, it is a part of our identity and it is time for us to just break away from just being a summer festival to become one of the greatest carnivals on earth, comparable to Brazil or Trinidad and I truly believe we are,” he said.

With six festivals on the country’s calender of events, he is asserting that Crop-Over was not on the same level.

“This is carnival on a global level and if we reposition Crop-Over as one of the greatest carnivals on earth I think that in totality it will become one of the greatest carnivals,” Haynes said.

The bandleader noted he had not discussed his ideas outside of the Baje family but said he would love the opportunity to do so.

“I think the NCF and the Ministry of Culture are doing a good job. I’m not asking Barbados to do anything different. We have outgrown the festival without even realising it, we are now a carnival. It is to continue doing what we’re doing and to just mention the bands would be an error.

“It’s the bands, the musicians, the studios, the producers, the craftsmen, the culture men on the streets producing all the necklaces and the shoes that go on at Bridgetown Market – it’s an inclusive effort,” Haynes stated. (DS)

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