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Band leader: Time to enhance product

Crop-Over needs to be marketed differently, says Fantasy International’s Amanda Reifer.

The bandleader who has revellers from Paris and Martinique, among other places, signing up to play mas in her Warriors Of Africa Grand Kadooment band this year, said despite this interest it could not be business as usual.

“I believe the mas’ experience is unique in Barbados. Yes they’re carnivals all around the world, but I think it is important that the powers that be and even the stakeholders within mas’ need to revisit what our product is.

“We have been jumping from the stadium to Spring Garden from 1980 something, the road has not changed, the experience has not changed. Nothing has changed. How do we look and evaluate what our product is and try to enhance it so we try and attract more people to Barbados for Crop-Over.

“I was absolutely shocked when I was in a meeting recently and I thought thy were 10,000 masqueraders jumping and I was told that its only 8,000. It has nothing to do with J’ouvert but everything to do with our product and how we market it and the fact that not enough people come from overseas to play mas’ and therefore there are 20 bands trying to grab for 8,000 revellers.

“Therefore we need to increase the number of people coming in so that we can increase the mas but we need to first look at what we’re trying to sell and what our product is,” she said.

Reifer whose front line costumes were sold out, noted that there were things that could be done to give Crop-Over a fresh look or feel, including an alternative route.

She pointed out that some of the larger bands had decided to cap their numbers because of the size of the roads.

She said: “Why are we inhibiting growth because we don’t think we could have a different road or route. We need to see how we could improve on our product so we can get more people … coming to Barbados and spending money so the economy benefits as well.

“We have a relationship with Divi Southwinds so they stay [there]. They go to the different parties, they pay for the costumes, J’ouvert everything in one package. Now, if I have 500 people doing that, that’s great but if we have 10 or 20 bands doing that, that’s how you improve on the numbers.”

Reifer said that there needs to be a website with videos which would be used to promote Kadooment and mas’ and the entire Bajan experience not only at Crop-Over but year round because they were people who surfed the Internet every day looking for something different.

She told Barbados TODAY that three of the revellers from Paris had jumped in the band last year and had brought along others this year as well as a group from Martinique.

“They went online last year, saw the costumes, came and experienced it, said they had a great time and they’re going to bring friends [this] year. That’s how I was able to tap into that market. We had people from as far as Finland one year too,” Reifer noted. (DS)

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