Barbados: Hard times strike Crop Over bands


In Bridgetown, Barbados, retailers and bandleaders are lamenting slow sales gearing up to Crop Over celebrations. Barbados Today reports:

With Grand Kadooment a mere three days away, some bandleaders were reporting slow sales, while complaining they had been struck by the austerity bug. When Barbados TODAY visited some band houses, there were hardly any signs of life, with just one or two people dropping by to collect costumes or to ask questions.

At Wednesday 2000 on Independence Square bandleader Mackie Holder was busy distributing costumes for Foreday Morning. He said Grand Kadooment sales were rather slow, but he anticipated his approximately 200 costumes would be taken by Monday. “It’s a hard year,” Holder said. “Like all other bands it was a challenging year. I have a certain approach that I have developed over time and it works for me so I’m sticking with that,” he said.

Two years ago, Holder had hinted he would bring down the curtains on his participation in Crop Overafter 21 years, saying at the time it was no longer profitable. Two years later he is still at it, although he sometimes questions his decision to keep going. However, he said he would do everything possible to ensure that those who jump with him have a great time on the road. “At the end of the day we will be on the road and we will do what we normally do and have more fun than any other band. We are thankful for those who have partnered with us this year and we urge others to do the same. That’s the only way that bands can survive,” Holder added. The veteran bandleader called for “some major changes . . . to be made if things are going to get better. “Yes, we have visitors coming in and we are glad to have them but we have to have Barbadians participating in large numbers . . . . There’s interest there but we have to have something that interests people.”

Bandleader Kevin Small of Fifth Element said he too was experiencing slow sales, but was expecting an improvement over the weekend. “Sales are as expected, a little slow, but we are still pressing on and keeping the faith. In comparison to last year we are around the same mark. It’s a familiar feeling because people are still getting accustomed to Fifth Element being a Grand Kadooment band. This weekend is usually a busy weekend for us so we are expecting quite a rush,” he said.

Small, who recently took top honours at Junior Kadooment, said he was hoping to do even better at Grand Kadooment. The Junior Kadooment contest was hit by controversy as some bandleaders, including Gwyneth Squires, have refused to accept Small’s victory.

Like fellow bandleaders, there was no stampede for costumes from Squires, but she said she anticipated they all would be sold by Sunday. “People are calling and so on already, so I’m expecting to get a big rush over the weekend. I’m ready for the jump, though,” Squires said.

For original article, see

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