Band forced to slash costume prices
At least one local band has been forced to slash the price of costumes, blaming hardships being experienced by Barbadians for the scant response it has been receiving.
The leader of Ravurz Band, Lyndon Clarke, told Barbados TODAY he has had to drop the price from $450 to just $200 in an attempt to attract revellers.
“This year was a very difficult year. Things weren’t going well so we‘ve had to reduce the costumes [prices] . . . that is going to put us at basically a loss, “ Clarke lamented.
Despite the reduction, the band leader said he continued to have difficulty meeting his target of 159 masqueraders for Grand Kadooment, although he reported a slight improvement since the cut.
“We have had people come in, they heard the price [is] $200 so they are now starting to flow in. We are pushing for 159 on the road. We can make it, now that the prices have dropped.”
Clarke said the five-year-old Ravurz Band has also teamed up with another Kadooment Band experiencing similar challenges, Dust Till Dawn, in another attempt to boost numbers.
“[The leader Dawn Bowen has brought] onboard some of her sponsors as well,” he said.
Another band, Wednesday 2000, which will celebrate 21 years on the road this year, is also seeing smaller numbers. However, the leader Mackie Holder said he was contented.
“I am pretty comfortable in where we’re at,” Holder told Barbados TODAY.
“Our first band was 800 people 21 years ago. I personally don’t want to do big bands anymore. . . [for] Kadooment we don’t go pass 200,” he explained.
While some bands are struggling to attract revellers, perennial winner Gwyneth Squires has had no such problems.
She reported that preparations were “coming very good” and that three sections of her band had already been sold out, and
last-minute orders were still trickling in.
“A lady now call me . . . she’s from England and she would like to jump with me. I say, ‘come ahead’,” Squires said.
“By six o’clock [on] Sunday evening all gone.”
The comments come on the heels of recent complaints by stakeholders about the Barbados Revenue Authority’s (BRA) recent enforcement of Section 34(6) of the Value Added Tax Act (amended).
The legislation, which is currently being robustly enforced by BRA requires that “all promoters of public entertainment and every licensee or proprietor of places of public entertainment must register for VAT purposes even if their annual gross sales/receipts were less than $80,000”.
Government is also levying of Withholding Tax on the benefits accruing to foreign artistes who perform in Barbados, even for charitable events, and stakeholders say this has been further eating into their pockets.
Local taxi drivers who operate from Lower Broad Street in The City have also complained that the season has been sluggish, while City stores have been reporting mixed sales for the festival season.
However, organizers say they are generally pleased with how Crop Over has been progressing to date.
Today, they reported that all systems were go for an exciting finale to this year’s Crop Over festival with more than 300 stalls expected to be at Bridgetown Market on the Spring Garden Highway, which opens tonight.
Forty-seven bands will be on the road for the Foreday Morning jam, which starts at midnight.
Tomorrow night, nine calypsonians are also due to face off against defending monarch Ian iweb Webster at the 2015
Pic-O-De-Crop finals, scheduled to be held at Kensington Oval. At this event, the winners of the inaugural Barbados TODAY Crop Over Superstar competition will be announced and rewarded with their prizes.
On Monday, thousands of revellers will take to the streets, from the stadium to Spring Garden Highway, in 22 colourful bands to bring a climax to this year’s summer festival.