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I had no intention of returning to this topic this week, but I feel that I must.
After sharing my strong views on some of the bands that ambush the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Foreday Morning Jam which is part of the official Crop Over calendar, I received a mix of reactions.
There were many who shared my views, but also those who were passionately defending the bands that “AM.bush” or ambush this event.
One person wrote: “At first I wasn’t a fan of the private jumps, but after jumping Foreday where three fights broke out along the route among bystanders, lack of police, BDF personnel, poor lighting especially by Carlisle House, hurried routes due to the number of bands on the road, we decided to try the private jumps instead and haven’t returned to Foreday. We would all love to actually jump Foreday but it definitely needs revamping.”
Another person posted: “Stop giving permits and licences on that day”.
Another response was: “It is part of the Crop Over calendar and we need to do everything to develop the official component of the festival. There is lots of room to create fringe events outside of the core events”.
My views remain. I still believe that it is wrong that so many bands – even one is too many – would host an activity similar in concept on the same day this national event is being held.
What I would concede – and I did make the point last week – is that the powers that be at the NCF must listen to the various stakeholders when they raise concerns about the staging of any event.
In conversation with two very vocal individuals involved in bands that will not be on the Spring Garden Highway on August 3 for Foreday Morning, they made it known they did not just up and “break ties”, but sought and had various discussions with the NCF.
However, their feeling was that the NCF did not really listen to their concerns and everything remained the same. Their biggest beef, they said, was that a jump that starts around 1 a.m. and ends at 5 a.m., needed overhauling. Security was also another concern.
My advice to the NCF is to address the concerns raised, not only about this event but all others that form part of the Crop Over calendar. Our festival can only get bigger and better when we have dialogue. So listen and act! (CM)