RANTS AND RAVES: Crop Over not exclusive

by Carol Martindale

Yes folks, I am ranting and raving again this week about the parties going on for the Crop Over season.

The festival is in full swing, now shifting into another gear with a crush of fetes that will be held this week.

There will be the expected mix of parties including those that are all-inclusive in nature.

While their concept is not new to Barbados, these type of parties are becoming more of the norm nowadays especially at Crop Over time.

The fetes can start from $100 and can go as high as $300.

The cost covers not only the entrance fee, but organisers usually boast of offering premium drinks and food – all night long, or morning long in the case of the all-inclusive breakfast parties.

The parties also attract some of the top dee-jays here and even those from neighbouring islands.

These fetes offer a nice mix on the party scene for the Festival.

I like the idea of having the choices – and where I end up is usually based my pocket, previous experiences, and my party posse.

Chief Executive Officer at the National Cultural Foundation Cranston Browne has expressed some concern about the number of all-inclusive fetes which are popping up around Barbados at this time.

He is worried that these parties can affect our cultural landscape and the “unique way” Barbadians celebrate Crop Over.

While acknowledging that the private fetes and all-inclusives are vital to the festival, he believes there is a heavy influence of these parties.

For me, what is more concerning is that these all-inclusive parties, which are costly and sometimes prohibitive on the pockets of the people, do not drown out the other fetes around.

Some believe that these all-inclusive fetes are exclusive.

Really, the only thing that makes them exclusive is whether patrons have the money or not to attend them.

What I would add is that after shelling out hundreds for these fetes, they must be of the promised standard and quality. Truth is sometimes the organisation of the all-inclusives leaves a lot to be desired. 

Promoters need to step up their game and fulfil their side of the proverbial bargain.  Most don’t advertise and rely solely on track record when it comes to standards and word of mouth. Bad service, long lines, poor choices of food and cheap drinks can be the game changer for some when attending future events.

So a word to the wise – up the ante and get make sure your all-inclusive event is on point and delivering what is promised.

Back to the substantive point: It is for this reason that I welcome the mix of parties I spoke about earlier in this blog.

The Festival still has to make sure it caters to the spending power of the people.

I would be more concerned if the all-inclusive parties were taking over Crop Over as this could spell trouble for its success.

We need to ensure that we involve all who want to be part of the summer festival and the only way to achieve this is to embrace all at every level.

It is for this reason that I still like the fact that Pan Pun De Sand continues to this day to be a free event. I also like that there are other fetes that don’t go past $20 or $25 dollars as a cover charge and the drinks on offer won’t break a man’s, or woman’s pocket.

Then a person can determine if they would take in an all-inclusive or any at all, if they so desire, based on affordability.

Crop Over Festival is for all – that’s what makes it the Sweetest Summer Festival.

That my friends, is my Rants & Raves for the week!