Dollar sense

With the Crop-Over season now a thing of the past for 2013, there will be postmortem examinations of the various events. Some will say that they had a blast this season and view it as a success from their end. Some will be more aware of the areas they view as flat and boring and in some cases a financial loss.

To most, success is measured in dollars and cents. If it doesn’t make dollars it doesn’t make sense. Money is the main reason why most of us go into business. It is true that we do things for love but which area is the love mostly targeted? Money comes back into focus once again.

You need to spend money to make money, and if there is constant output and no income then you are operating at a loss. That makes no sense business wise so the next thing is what do you do next.

Crop-Over is a huge income earner for Barbados and Barbadians individually. Food sales, car rentals, hotel and guest house reservations, alcohol and light beverage sales, clothing, fetes, and the list can go on and on. These are just some of the areas and main areas that we see set up to make money during the festival.

What I am a bit concerned about is the lack of vision by many of us in maximising on the festival. First of all, Bridgetown closes too early. Everyone wants to make money but seem to also want to get home to watch Days Of Our Lives.

During the summer weeks it is hot and miserable for many and coming out to do some late shopping would be suitable for them. Not only will merchants make extra, but they will be able to keep staff employed too. A win-win situation all around.

As I mentioned earlier, you must spend to make so don’t expect to make it all doing things the same way. The next area is the lack of events during the weekdays in the last few weeks of the festival.

One would not think it is the island’s biggest festival when you travel around. Music is not heard as you would expect — and that is music of the festival.

I feel we should be creating the carnival atmosphere throughout in one way or the other. I will mention the City again because that is where most of the shopping is done. Attract the tourist and locals alike with the right setting. I just find things here are a bit low keyed and bland where it could be a whole lot better.

The NCF events that will standout in our minds whether for the right reasons or otherwise, are all huge income earners. Pic-O-De-Crop, Sweet Soca and Soca Royale are three of the main ticketed events. The issue here is that they are all competition driven events too, where the opinion of seven detetmines who reigns for a year and takes the prizes. Seven are chosen to decide what the rest of the island must accept. It will not go down well with many but that is the way the cookie crumbles. Everyone is an expert when it comes to competitions so the usual debates are expected.

The party aspect of the competitions is usually the main money earner in my view, but what has been happening is the people who attend this event don’t always like the persons chosen or songs chosen for the competitions.

The average Joe seems to be looking at the airplay and the party play hence the popularity of the songs. No one looks at the fact that some of these offerings are technically enhanced during recording, but the individuals are not capable of reproducing live.

Do we just want popular songs no matter how the sound live or do we want good sounding performers with unpopular songs? I think the NCF has a big decision to make. Either throw the criteria out the door and look at filling the venues, or continue as they do and face losses yearly, plus a cussing.

I don’t blame the judges this year at all for the most silent and unresponsive party monarch competition ever, because they had little to choose from in the tents. Not only were some of the popular songs not in the tents, but the ones there couldn’t be reproduced by the artiste.

I believe the party aspect may need to be taken out of the tents because those attending the shows don’t frequent the tents at all. It may push more acts to record, but the same decision taken with Sweet Soca may need to be taken with the up tempo songs.

Take the competition to the people and in a party atmosphere. How hard can that be? Again spend some money to put it on and hopefully make much more. Crowd response will have to play a big part even though we know some acts have “rent-a crowd” in full effect, but such is the nature of it these days.

The next thing that is going to be a must if we want to maintain the purity of the calypso competition, is to make sure that it does not become another party competition. The same way one song is not allowed in both party competitions the same needs to be done for the calypso competition.

It was fine before but when we see the same productions being done for both competitions, I believe we are robbing the public somewhat. Force acts to get creative all round. There comes a time when we need to halt certain goings on and in doing so the purity of the various competitions will remain intact.

The public is a huge force in if we make it or break it. Consideration for them must be taken and something must be done to keep the ticket sales up and also since everything is streamed out of the island, we need to create an impression so others will not just want to but make it a must to come to Barbados during the biggest summer festival.

I know many may or may not agree with me but such is life.

As for the competitions, I always say if you cannot accept the decision of the chosen seven then don’t enter. One person wins and the others are left disappointed. Move on and get ready for the following year.

The only thing I wish to see change is going back to deliberating. I believe we are the only ones who don’t do such. The Richard Stoute Competition has deliberation so too the karaoke ones. Maybe NCF needs to reconsider.

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