RANTS AND RAVES: Support Crop Over promoters

by Carol Martindale

Around Crop Over time, I can be somewhat of a party animal.

But so far for the festival, I have been tame.

I first wondered if it was because of the pressures of my job and the late hours working on the Nation’s weekend publications when most parties are held, or if it was a simple case of me getting on in age.

After some sober reflection I realised that neither of these reasons was the case, albeit, they could play a part in tempering my exuberance in thinking that I can still burn the candle at both ends.

But no, simply put, the parties that had me out and about at Crop Over time, especially during the week, were those mainly organised by private promoters.

My week was well planned with parties almost every night, except for Mondays which was a rest day.

Tuesdays were the limes by Party Animalz and Strawhat Posse, Wednesdays were dubbed Wadadah night, Thursdays were the nights to lime with Berger Boyz and Fridays were reserved for BRC, even if it was just the cap on a night of partying at other shows.

Then came the crush of fetes for the weekend. It was the night for the Ps – Party Stand with Power X 4 and Passion Network.

In recent times, Saturdays were reserved for some Scrawl Up fetes.

Party Central then made my Sunday nights after a day at the beach or relaxing after a full week of feting. On those occasions when I had energy left, I then headed to the Clock Tower.

This year is different.

With fewer of these fetes being held, Crop Over has lost a major ingredient that makes the Sweetest Summer Festival as it is so dubbed.

For years, those behind these events have complained to the powers that be about the challenges as well as the frustrations they face year after year.

Many of the promoters have said to me during interviews, and even in one-on-one conversations, that after a while, they were staging these events purely because of their love for the festival.

Their pockets were being drained and they were continually getting the run around at the various separate Government departments they had to go to get their liquor licenses, deal with VAT, as well as their police certificate of character.

Their call has been for there to be one central place where all these things can be done.

This is 2014, the 40th year for the Festival, and nothing has been put in place as yet to ease the frustrations of the private promoters, who undoubtedly help to make the festival what it is.

Just recently while addressing the Nation’s Editor’s Forum, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said research nearly a decade ago showed that Crop Over generated well over $80 million in economic activity. In addition to that, he noted that the festival helps to create some jobs in what is usually a slow tourist season.

Lashley at that time had also promised Crop Over legislation, similar to the sunset legislation for Cricket World Cup, which will govern the festival in the future.

He promised that this would be in place next year.

It’s already mid-July and realistically the season will be all over in three weeks, and while I hope I can still catch the festival fever during that time, I must confess that for the first time I understand why Crop Over can easily pass so many by.

I am hoping that from next year the NCF and Government can better work with private promoters to get them all back on board with a view to building a bigger and better festival.

Only then will Crop Over live up to its true potential of being The Sweetest Summer Festival.

And that my friends, is my Rants & Raves for this week.