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Bumper crop

Interim NCF CEO Cranston Browne.

Interim NCF CEO Cranston Browne.

It’s shaping up to be a great Crop-Over Festival.

If the sold out audiences at most of the National Cultural Foundation’s events are any indication, recession or no recession, Barbadians are coming to support

Not only is tonight’s LIME Crop-Over Gospel concert sold out, but so too were the Scotiabank Junior Monarch Calypso tents, the First Citizens’ Crop-Over Heritage Walk, the First Citizens’ Heritage Lecture and Tour, there were big crowds at the Cavalcades, at the Crop-over Preview, and the opening gala had a “bumper crowd”, the NCF’s Corporate Communications Specialist Simone Codrington told Barbados TODAY.

“Barbadians are coming out in their numbers and we hope that it continues this way. The attendance at the events shows that Barbadians are coming out despite the recession; they’re coming out and supporting the culture,” Codrington said.

She noted that “the interest seemed to be very high” for tomorrow’s Sweet Soca Semifinals which will be held at the Party Stand, “and we are looking forward to another sold out crowd”.

On Saturday, the Scotiabank Junior Monarch Semifinals, slated for Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre is also expected to be a great show both in terms of the performers and the audience.

This morning, while addressing a press conference to launch the Neal & Massy Pan Pun De Sand at Weisers on Brandons Beach, Chief Executive Officer of the NCF, Cranston Browne revealed that bookings for the festival are so high, the Barbados Tourism Authority had asked some airlines to add flights for this island’s premiere cultural event.

“So the flights are heavily booked, and we are expecting very good visitor turn out at these events,” Browne announced.

He said the BTA had been marketing the festival throughout the diaspora and for foreign visitors.

“And the way they are pitching it, is to ‘come for pan weekend.’ So we are actually now moving to a stage where we are selling festivals within the festival, or niches. For instance, the month of June was our Heritage Month; so they sold the month of June as heritage. So (if) you like the historical aspects of our culture, you would come to the island in June. Then you would move to the pan for the middle of July, and you would come for that weekend if you are pan enthusiast; and then for the final weekend, you come for the kaiso,” explained the Chief Executive Officer.

Browne said packaging the festival that way had worked, “and the bookings for Crop-Over are very, very high. I think in fact, the BTA is actually asking some of our airlines to put on some extra flights.”

He rejected suggestions that the local turn out at some of the major competitions would decline, due to the absence of “star power” from crowd- appealers such as Red Plastic Bag, Lil’ Rick, Edwin Yearwood and Gabby.

Browne reasoned that the music, which he said was sweet enough, would compensate for those crowd favourites missing from the Pic-O-De- Crop contest. He believed the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch competitions would draw massive crowds with acts like Mikey and Blood.

The NCF chief noted that the absence of those performers would make way for other top artists to emerge. He suggested there was not always a Lil’ Rick and people still turned out in their numbers. So as far as he was concerned, music was dynamic and continued to evolve.; emmanueljoseph@

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