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Renegades in need of sponsors and new memebers for band

The closure of Almond Beach is having an unexpected trickle down effect into Crop-Over this season.

The usually Almond Beach-sponsored Renegades Band has had to seek additional sponsorship this year and in fact, band leader and designer Doug Hoyte says they have had to branch out and seek new members for the band as well.

He told Barbados TODAY that his band is always a small one – mainly up to 300 persons – “but we are trying to see if we can even meet that this year.

“It has been particularly slow this year. We had some peculiarities because our band has been traditionally supported by Almond over the years. But with the closure of Almond, they would have not only supported the band financially, but our members as well would have come from Almond both employees and guests,” he said,

Quite a few of the employees who had lost their jobs were still not working and therefore not able to consider playing mas with the band this year, and additionally, with the hotel no longer existing, the revellers they would have garnered from the guests staying there were no more, he further explained.

He said it had led them to look for new revellers for the small band, which would traditionally have a number of faithfuls filling the ranks.

“We are looking in other areas for people. We are looking at those people who might want to change bands or for those who may not have jumped before,” he stated.

Another tactic they have taken, he said, was to price the costumes affordably at just over $300, in consideration of the pockets of those who might want to play mas but could not afford more.

The theme for the band this year is The Search for El Dorado, looking at the migration of Barbadians to the south after the abolition of slavery to seek better opportunities.

The band has five sections – The Panama Pioneers, Barbadianos, Havana Haven, The BG Bajan, and The Pride of Paradise – each of which chronicles the migration to a specific South American country and the progress of Bajans there.

Hoyte said that this year they have relied on other sponsorships and participation by other interested supporters to produce the band.

“Before we would have had the sponsorship and participation of Almond, but that no longer holds. We have gotten support from Ocean Fisheries and one or two other supporters this year and that is how we are going about producing the band,” said the designer. (LB)

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