Cranston Browne, Ruth Blackman and Minister Stephen Lashley at the Crop-Over press conference.
Cranston Browne, Ruth Blackman and Minister Stephen Lashley at the Crop-Over press conference.

Most of the major events on the Crop-Over calendar for 2013 will be seeing some changes.

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, and National Cultural Foundation executives announced this evening that Foreday Mornin’ will be getting a fourth route and could be held on the Saturday next year; Sweet Soca, in addition to a new home and a partner, will have a live band this year; Junior and Grand Kadooment will be returning to the new track of the National Stadium with door prizes to get people into the stands; and Cohobblopot has a new organiser in Premium Event Services.

Additionally, the Folk Concert which has moved to Frank Collymore Hall this year will also be heading to CARIFESTA and the judges for all the main events will be getting special training for the entire festival.

Lashley told the media this evening at his Haggatt Hall office that after meeting with stakeholders they were adding a new route to Foreday Mornin’.

CEO of the NCF, Cranston Browne, divulged that the three routes from last year starting at BTI car park, Bay Street; the Helipad on Hincks Street and the BIDC car park would remain in effect, but they were also adding another location that would be revealed in another week.

Lashley noted that Foreday Mornin’ had grown from 35 bands last year with about 18,000 people, to about 46 bands this year with about 21,000 revellers expected to play mas.

“That alone speaks to the heightened popularity of this event. What it has meant is that we had to start early discussions with the Royal Barbados Police Force, with a view to looking at the new security arrangements that this increase in revelry would have required,” he said, adding that the discussions had gone well and he commended the force for working closely with culture in this and other events.

While the numbers required specific arrangements along with police and was something they would have to pay close attention to, Lashley said: “We are not restricting the Foreday Mornin’ event because as was said, the phenomenal growth of Crop-Over is good and is something we expect; it is good for the economy and it is my intention to ensure that Crop-Over will grow even bigger.”

Noting that they had to be mindful that the event did not become another Grand Kadooment, the minister said this year they had made specifications including a $500 registration fee; party zones at various points for revellers to assemble; specific areas for music and vending, with there being restrictions on the music trucks specifically.

Barbados Light & Power, he said, had given $20,000 towards additional lighting for the route and more bathroom facilities were being added. He said too that because of the growth of the event they were looking at the possibility of it having to be held on the Saturday, instead of the Friday night following the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals.

“I think we are shifting the day itself because the thinking behind that is that the Foreday Mornin’ would occur just after the Finals and if it continues to be as expansive as it is projected to be, we may have to have a dedicated day for the Foreday Mornin’ itself.

“We are not yet at that stage, but we are contemplating that given the growth, the NCF may very well have to consider this as an option,” he said, adding that they were not beyond extending the route either.

Lashley said they had listened to the stakeholders and agreed that there should be a live band element to the Sweet Soca competition and that would be instituted from this year, and the NCF would be working with PowerX4 to host the event at the Party Stand.

This year patrons will pay to hear the semifinalists at the Party Stand, unlike the free event at the BET sports ground that was twinned with the Pork Lime last year.

With the completion of the new track at the National Stadium, both Junior Kadooment and Grand Kadooment will once again be passing through the stadium and the minister said they were introducing “prize packages” to attract families into the stadium. But there are restrictions — there will be no vehicles, bottles, bottle caps, plastic streamers or confetti allowed on the track, though paper will be permitted due to the drainage system at the stadium.

The children will jump from the stadium, exiting at the Jaycee’s gate onto Codrington Road, to the junction at Combermere, turn right onto Waterford and right again to Stadium Road.

About judging, while Lashley said it was not new for the NCF to offer workshops, for the first time there would be one for calypso judges.

“We’ve had workshops for judges for Kadooment, but for the first time this year, we have a workshop for calypso judges. It is customary for different judging panels to meet prior to Crop-Over to bring all the respective participants up to date and of course when we have new judges this is even more important.

“In 2011, the Kadooment judges and band leaders were involved in the very successful workshop which made changes in the judging process and this year as a result of the changes and the evolution taking place in calypso, the calypso judges will be getting together to look at the judging process. This process, once they look at the rules, will be looked at futuristically and not just to this year’s competition,” he stated.

The minister said for the much talked about Cohobblopot, there were two tenders for the hosting of the event, which was won by Rihanna’s Loud Concert and Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival organisers Premier Event Services. While he could not yet reveal the treats in store, Lashley promised there would be a good blend of local and other acts. (LB)

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