Crop Over gets passing grade
Crop Over 2015 has received a passing grade from some leading players in the festival and a senior tourism official.
Veteran leader of the popular Power X 4 Masqueraders Band, Chetwyn Stewart said he was satisfied that the annual festival was getting “larger”. He noted that was what the country needed.
Stewart told Barbados TODAY he would launch his band a lot earlier next year in order to spend more time preparing for Grand Kadooment.
Popular entertainer and MC of many Crop Over events, Mac Fingall, said he believed the festival “went well this year”.
“I thought there was an improvement in the music and also I was pleased with the turn-out. All the fetes had people,” Fingall told Barbados TODAY.
“I was glad to see that the turn-out was so good because it means that money is circulating and as long as the money circulates, that is how the economy works. So I am very pleased and I hope it continues and gets bigger and bigger,” he added.
The festival is said to contribute between $80 million and $100 million to the local economy.
While describing Crop Over this year as “a phenomenal success”, Chief Executive Officer of the new Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BPTA) Dr Kerry Hall said the festival had grown tremendously.
However, Hall, who attended most of the events during the season, said more effort should be placed on promoting and marketing all other aspects of the festival besides the fetes.
While she was pleased with the number of visitors coming to the island for the parties and Grand Kadooment, she said it was equally important to get more tourists here for the other activities.
“We have the arts and craft. We have the different events that showcase the history and culture of Barbados in its entirety,” she said. “Crop Over is not just the fetes but it is an extravaganza lasting over a period of four weeks and we then get an opportunity to showcase everything that is Barbados.”
The senior tourism official posited that the necessary work to ensure that all aspects of the festival were kept alive could come about through more effective marketing and promotion of the product and with “better” use of technology by all stakeholders, including the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), the BTPA, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), as well as other public and private sector partners.
“Let’s not just look at the partying aspect of it. Yes, that is a big aspect but it is not just partying. Crop Over was originated out of the last canes . . . It has a rich history and is very cultural and I think we have kind of moved away from the meaning,” said Hall.
“If you look at what contemporary travellers are looking for, they are looking for unique and authentic experiences and they are looking for cultural and community immersion. They want to know that they could come to Barbados and get in Barbados what they can’t get anywhere else in the world,” she added.
Hall said it was time that Crop Over was used as “a vehicle” to showcase the island to the rest of the world, making a case for all the activities to receive equal marketing and exposure.
Describing Crop Over as “an international iconic event”, she said it could remain the “headline” festival for the island. However, she saw an opportunity for more festivals to be created around it throughout the year.