Pleasing the people

We are at that point in the Crop-Over Festival where interest and activities begin to pick up as we race toward the big day — Grand Kadooment.

While there are still some complaining that they have not yet caught the fever, it is clear that at least two facets of the festival are getting considerable support from Barbadians. We refer to calypso and the tents and the Foreday Mornin’ jump-up.

It does not make sense attempting to argue that this has been an exceptional year for calypso so far, because it is not. But those who have been to the tents or who have been following what has been taking place on the airwave, appear by and large to be enjoying what has been offered.

There can be no arguing however, that this is not the greatest interest that Barbadians have ever shown in Foreday Mornin’, Yes, some complain that the event has moved away from its root and some argue it is too close to Kadooment in terms of the character of the event.

We will not contest the validity of these positions, but we will argue that if the interest shown by Barbadians to what the bands are offering is anything to go by, then Foreday Mornin’ 2012 is going to be one massive party — possibly matching Kadooment in terms of the number of actual revellers.

We believe it is fair to conclude that the growing popularity of this event has a lot to do with the fact that the bands are in fact the creations of those who jump, in that they more closely reflect the shifting desires of the revellers than Kadooment.

And this brings us to the central point of our article, that while the creativity of event leaders is absolutely essential, any undertaken that is designed to be more about its creator that those who will utilise its services is doomed to limited success — and possibly failure.

That’s why we believe that those who are responsible for the festival must continuously improve their lines of communications with all stakeholders so they constantly invite comments — and then act on the input. So far this year a number of creative, passionate players have offered suggestions to improve the festival and we hope the National Cultural Foundation has structured mechanism in place to capture them for further consideration, regardless of the source or medium employed.

In that spirit, we would wish to suggest that the NCF give careful consideration to a suggestion by veteran musician, Crop-Over stakeholder and tent manager, Adrian “Boo” Husbands that the foundation set up an annual Crop-Over radio station. There is much merit in the suggestion.

We have no idea what such an undertaking would cost or what it would take technically to get it off the ground, but we believe, like many Barbadians that music is still the primary driver of the festival and any facility that pushes that component can only benefit the festival as a whole.

Commercial radio stations have their own interests to look after and it is unfair to expect them to move in a direction which they sincerely believe may run counter to those interests. We can see no way that a Crop-Over radio station would inhibit the mandate of the key organiser of Crop-Over.

But in all fairness to the NCF, we wish to throw Boo’s suggestion back at him and asked whether the umbrella bodies for tents and calypsonians should not come together and consider applying for a temporary radio licence for Crop-Over and run their own radio station. There is certainly more than enough expertise in this fraternity to pull it off — and we may add, with ease.

As far as we are concerned Barbados has everything to gain and nothing to lose from acting on this suggestion by Boo Husbands and we look forward to step two.

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