Entertainment

Multi-million budget reaps results for Crop Over

Sunday, August 11, 2019

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It has taken a BDS$6-million-budget (US$3 million) to stage this year's Crop Over festival in Barbados, which concluded last Monday.

This was revealed by Carol Roberts-Reifer, chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), which has overall responsibility for the planning and execution of the the annual event.

According to Roberts-Reifer while some may see this as a hefty price tag, it should always be seen within the context of the return on investment and the benefits generated, which include employment for artistes, employment for artisans and vendors.

“You also have to look at employment for people in the informal sector — clothes, hair, nails, shoes...That whole mercantile sector. I like to buttress the cost to the NCF with the cost of the amount of income and employment it generates,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

The NCF team is pleased with this year's festival, with Roberts-Reifer noting that this is despite a number of changes which she said at first were a little rocky.

“You know how we are as Caribbean people when it comes to adjusting to change. However, the NCF is vindicated in that all of the changes resulted in not only increased gate receipts and increased patronage, but also increased endorsements. For the first time, we took the Junior Soca Monarch Competition through the schools from start to finish with amazing results. For the first time for the Pick of The Crop and Social Commentary Competitions calypsonians were only required to bring one song and that was in an effort to get more people to come out and to make the artistes be on their A-game on the night and that has reaped results,” she shared.

For the foundation tapping into the youth market has also been a key component in a bid to keep the festival alive. As a result, the calypso competitions are now open to all sub-genres of soca including power, groovy, bashment, sweet and social commentary. This, she noted, is important as it encourages all proponents of the music to participate. Roberts-Reifer further noted that all calypsonians regardless of age are encouraged to write their own material and be involved in the whole process so their voices are heard and their concern articulated.

She also shared what she said is the simple matrix applied by the foundation to ensure the success of this year's event and those to come.

“This is a Barbadian festival. So we thought what influence can we include that other carnivals don't have to make it authentic, and how can we go truly global? The answer lies in establishing a standard, and so going forward we will be looking at streamlining the festival. So it's all about seeing the last weeks of July and early August as the playground of the world. We're working on an app where you can easily access your hotel accommodation, event tickets, and everything you need. This will also allow us to collect data on how many people came and from which countries, and what's their spend. Once you have that you can craft a festival that will take the world by storm... that's where we are heading,” she said.


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