Sunday, March 3, 2024

ON REFLECTION – Crop Over appeal boost


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IT’S LOOKING indeed as if Crop Over is moving to another level.
That other music forms like tuk, steel pan and folk are being offered this season has been well promoted, but while these are being embraced for sentimental reasons mainly – although the Pan Fusion with class acts Liam Teague and Arturo Tappin can be marketable – the partnership between Rihanna’s concert and Cohobblopot can be the seed of a highly marketable aspect of the festival.
Imagine if the Barbados Tourism Authority, which is promoting the Rihanna show, could stage a similar event annually showcasing the other big-label Barbadian international stars.
Headlining these, as a Cohobblopot combination with each passing year, would be, or instance, Shontelle, Jaicko, Hal Linton, Vita, Livvy Franc, CoverDrive, Rupee, and the like.
Barbados certainly has enough stars to make such a show sustainable, since these headliners would be supported by others who, though not yet signed to any label, are local stars in their own right with marketable products: Philip 7, Toni Norville, Alison Norville-Forde, Hoszia Hinds . . . almost too many to call at this time.
If I had the wherewithal, I’d promote such an event but, seriously, the BTA and the National Cultural Foundation can build on this year’s August 5 partnership by making Rihanna the first of these annual headliners – all local – to climax our national summer festival.
Not only would it showcase a massive amount of talent that gets minimal exposure, since there’s no ongoing national forum for non-soca/calypso acts except the Barbados Music Awards; but the international appeal would be awesome since our stars could ride the wave of global popularity set by Rihanna, followed by Shontelle and Rupee.
And if Rihanna’s three-year contract with the Government includes summer performances in Barbados over the next couple of years, the marketing intensity propelled by the BTA could put Crop Over’s annual climax on such a high that the other acts and their labels would simply have to prepare themselves to sustain the show’s inherent quality.
And it would be a win-win situation, since this high-profile tourism event would be occurring after the competition aspect of Crop-Over, and not at all to the detriment of the tents, calypsonians or soca artistes.
Once Rihanna’s show comes off with the anticipated bang, it should be a piece of cake for the BTA to negotiate with the other labels to get these top local artistes, who would be happy to show their home crowd just why they were signed by the likes of Jive, Sony, Atlantic and SRP.
We hear their work but Bajans would enjoy seeing them live, and so would many international music fans who have been forced to look at this 166-square-mile nugget of musical talent.
Imagine the tourism appeal of such a Crop Over climax! Imagine the new international heights of this festival, which would then be truly more than a carnival.
Baah humbug!
I’VE KNOWN SILLY things to cause raging controversy at Crop Over, but a sheep?
Stiffy has outdone himself with his sheep song, which not only rings true in its satire and mood, but also captures how young Barbadians add a pronounced drawl to our wonderful dialect to communicate the simplest things; including one’s lack of money in the words “I brreeekk”.
As if that wasn’t laughable enough, the chief inspector of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Wayne Norville, raised the song’s profile last week by expressing concern for the sheep being used as a prop. It made me wonder whether Mr Norville was adding another comic element to the song.
While I was glad our reporters didn’t dismiss him by saying “baah humbug!”, I couldn’t help but wonder where Mr Norville was when, for years, a donkey was part of the annual centre stage in Queen’s Park for the Delivery Of Last Canes.
Each year, the poor donkey was taken out of its habitat and paraded before crowds, with loud speakers blaring nearby, as we ushered in Crop Over.
Now dead, the ass has been replaced this year by another, which dutifully pulled yet another cartload of sugar cane to usher in Crop Over 2011 two weeks ago. Not a bray from the RSPCA.
Then there’s the annual Agrofest, where animals, sheep included, are taken from the serenity of their homes and herded into Queen’s Park to undergo, for hours over a two-day period, the trauma of noise and crowds larger than any kaiso tent attendance – not always under the shade of trees or makeshift pens either, but exposed to the broiling sun. Not a bleat from the RSPCA.
But I recall that Mr Norville, an erstwhile calypsonian with the Celebrity Tent, may have decided to have his say.


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