Dancers performing at the reception held on Friday ni.ght. (Picture by Reco Moore)
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An earlier launch and a rebranding of the Opening Gala are among changes for the 2018 edition of the Sweetest Summer Festival.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said it was all part of the thrust to lure the younger market to the traditional aspects of Crop Over.
Addressing sponsors at a reception held at St Ann’s Fort on Friday evening, Lashley said a youthful touch had been added to the Pic-O-De-Crop competition with the hashtag campaign I LUV KUH-LIP-SO, and would take it a step further this year.
“We saw the need to revamp the Opening Gala and Delivery Of The Last Canes with a new, more catchy name, Crop Over Xplosion, and at an earlier time on the calendar, June 2, signifying the true public launch/start of the season,” he disclosed.
A change is also being considered for Soca Royale at Bushy Park, which will be rolled out under the same format as last year. Officials are in discussion for the addition of a People’s Choice Wild Card Entry which would be done via online voting or text.
Sponsorship suffered a dip last year, but the minister said that 2017 was one of the biggest years for prizes.
“[There were] four vehicles on offer, and, for the first time, the inclusion of a vehicle in the category of masquerade for Festival Designer Of The Year. Our memories will also include the fact that it was a good year for masquerade on the whole, with increases in subventions and prize monies for the bandleaders.
“And from a brand perspective, Crop Over itself continues to be a significant investment for your organisations and for individuals alike, because of the global reach and because of the consistently high performance that we have in Crop Over, therefore creating enormous potential to leverage your sponsorship dollars and your brands,” Lashley stated.
The minister noted that Crop Over had also developed into a major cultural tourism product, which was attracting global recognition.
“The festival is also a central part of our intangible cultural heritage, and while we accept the challenge to adapt and transform to its changing face, there are critical aspects that the National Cultural Foundation is charged with a mandate of guarding and fuelling our culture and, of course, we are committed to protecting that aspect of our culture. (YB)