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Marlon Madden

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CROP-OVER REVELLERS seem to be recession-proof this year, and stand ready to jump away the financial blues.Complete sections of some masquerade bands have been sold out with more than a month to go before Grand Kadooment.Small bands, big bands and even children’s bands are reporting solid sales for some sections, and are forecasting numbers next month.Big band Power X 4 is expecting over 1 500 revellers, and may just have to provide additional costumes early next month to cater to late-comers. Bandleader Chetwyn Stewart said he was expecting most of his sections to be sold out by the end of this week.“When we opened last Sunday we sold out two sections in that one day. Never in the history of Power X 4!” said the leader of one of the traditionally largest bands. Wednesday 2000 said it was planning to introduce new sections to cater to those people expected to apply next month. Leader of the 15-year-old band, Mackie Holder, said: “The female section is almost sold out. Up to the 23rd of this month we had only about 20 spaces left.”Big and small bandsSome bands will be parading as many as seven sections – some with “sub-sections”, while others will have as few as two sections.Veteran bandleader Betty West, who caters to both adults and children, agreed that despite the ongoing recession, the party limes continued to be well supported.“It is a tough year for us [bands], but we will pull through,” she said.“So far we are on par with what is expected, coming to the end of June,” said bandleader Trevor Chase of Ooutraje: “We have five sections and will only be catering for that number. Once we get to the end of that we are finished. We don’t consider adding any more sections. Some people had to cut their budget.”With two sections almost sold out and one completely sold, the five-section band Youth Explosion said one way of helping people this year was to allow for a downpayment on costumes.So too, reported bandleader of Contact, Anthony Layne. He said it was a little slow, but still promising.“A lot of people are not working but still coming; and we cater for them. Due to the recession, to me it started a little slow, but is picking up. We always have the demand of adding more sections, but that puts pressure on organisers . . . . We don’t want to dilute the product,” said Layne.President of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM), Roger Millar, said it was “the norm” for females to purchase their costumes around this time, but the males would prefer buying theirs around the last two weeks of July.“The festival started on a good foot, and the participation seems very high. The festival is very much on the way. The attendance and music is good. Everything indicates we will have another great Crop-Over,” said Millar.