EDITORIAL – A successful festival so far
This year’s Crop-Over season has been marked by much less controversy than in recent years, although the booing of TC at the Soca Royale is a worrying development perhaps symptomatic of a growing reluctance on the part of some in society to accept the authority of rule and that the judges’ decision ought to be respected. That apart, the staging of Soca Royale at Bushy Park may have opened the eyes of the National Cultural Foundation to the discovery of a new staging ground for this event, and the large crowd that attended augurs well for the future development of local entertainment. In fact, there are healthy signs that indicate local entertainment has matured to the point where with proper management and organisation enterprising Barbadians can now establish viable businesses.The successes of the Chetwyn Stewart group in staging the Power X Four band and other shows, and of the FAS group and others who stage shows at Farley Hill and other mass entertainment shows elsewhere demonstrate clearly that we are developing the skills in stage building, efficient and appropriate lightning, box office establishment and crowd control and security – all of which are skills absolutely necessary for the proper production of an accomplished entertainment package.Success in the field of entertainment calls for the usual business skills, and more, because the individual artistes are often among the most temperamental of human beings. Yet, there are examples of highly successful entertainment management companies on the international stage, and there is no reason why local expertise cannot be elevated to that higher level.At the level of the performing artiste, as opposed to the management group, we must inculcate in those of our youth, who are creatively and dramatically gifted, that in addition to any talent, the artist must be prepared to work hard, be highly disciplined and committed to ride out the difficult days in order to enjoy the pleasure and benefits of success.International entertainers like Sir Elton John, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Paul McCartney, to take three British examples, are among the highest income earners of their time and they generate significant foreign exchange, which may or may not be repatriated to Britain, as they are advised by their tax consultants. What is more, they may receive national honours in recognition of their hard work and skill, a clear demonstration of the high esteem in which the creative industries are held in the larger countries.In these islands we suffer from the smallness of our size, and hence we may lose our more talented artistes who cannot fully develop their talents in our smaller and less well developed creative market places. Yet we may be able to invisibly export our acquired skill by producing shows at Kensington Oval in which internationally famous singers can be headline acts. Barbados is closer to New York than New York is to California; and it is closer still to Florida, and the market for such shows can also include our sister Caribbean islands.The National Cultural Foundation must not rest on its laurels. The expertise and resources both human and physical which it has acquired over the years, must now be pressed into service in the national interest. Crop-Over may be our biggest show, but with the need for Kensington Oval to pay for its upkeep, the game of cricket must not be the only choice for its management. With the temporary implant of the relevant technology in top-class stage lightning and television recording facilities, Kensington may be an ideal location for the staging of world-class musical entertainment. After the successful staging of this weekend’s shows we should start the serious research on staging international productions there.