A costume from the section Envy. (Picture by Jameel Springer.)
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The National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) and the two percent foreign exchange fee hit Kontact the Band hard in 2017.
The premium band, powered by Yello, however jumped back on its feet and has gone global.
The band brought its theme The Road Ahead to the Barbados Museum recently and sections include Miss Mischief, The Wanderer, Serenity, Envy, Dreamers, Spirit of Kontact, Guardian Angel, Bacchanal, Light Bearers, Mysteries of Time and The Gate Keeper.
Band leader Anthony Lanye said this number was an increase over previous years and that patrons were given the option to build their costumes.
“Traditionally we have done eight, but we added more because we are now into the international market so our efforts are focused on getting people to come to Barbados to experience Crop Over as opposed to just getting Barbadians to jump. We still understand the importance of our local market but in a depressed economy we know that it’s a little difficult for people to find disposable income to jump,” he said.
While calling for duty free concessions, he said the previous year was challenging.
“We usually start budgeting for Crop Over [between] October to December the previous year. Then we were hit with the NSRL but after Crop Over and the invoices started to come in, we had to pay more because then we were also stuck with the two per cent foreign exchange transaction fee. So it was a major hit for us but we were able to weather the storm and we are here in 2018,” he added.
A team of local designers including Shana Odle, Kadeem Hinds, Junior Sealy and Cara Thornhill and Kathy-Ann Layne of KCI Designs were responsible for some of the costumes.
In addition to JAM Design Concepts, international brands such as Mischievous Ladies out of New York, Extacy Mas from Hollywood and Carnival Revellers Trinidad are also on board.
Kontact is hoping to attract between 700 to 800 revellers and they are offering a number of services including a shuttle to and from the National Stadium, snacks and premium drinks and air conditioned washrooms on the road. (TG)