THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Foreday in full swing
Twenty thousand Crop Over revellers jumping at the same time, on the same road, on the same night?
If you are surprised that the Foreday Morning jump has become such an attractive and popular element of the official Crop Over events, I am not. That’s how I foresaw it would develop way back in 1994.
That year, I was appointed a member of a committee chaired by then Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association executive vice-president, Noel Lynch, charged with creating an innovative plan to give a then aging Crop Over festival a fresh look and feel. The various recommendations implemented included the use of a section of the Ermie Bourne Highway (East Coast Road) as the venue for combined Pic-O-De-Crop Semi-finals and the Soca Monarch finals, and the introduction of a Foreday Morning jump.
Having been a regular at Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago for several years, I suggested to the committee that we should adopt and adapt the J’ouvert jump, which is also a major attraction in St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica and other islands where carnival is king. I, however, stressed that we should drop the name and replace it with one that was traditional Bajan for that time of the day, namely Foreday Morning.
And so it was that a new-look Crop Over was rolled out the following year with a calendar that included, among other innovations, the “East Coast” and Foreday Morning.
Unfortunately, while nobody had any problems with the latter, concerns were raised about the proposal to have four routes to Spring Garden.
Since Foreday Morning would immediately follow the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals at the National Stadium, the first route would start in that area and “bring down” all those who wanted to literally jump from one into the other, as well as revellers from central Barbados and suburban areas.
The second route was to be the current one but starting at the Garrison in order to cater to Barbadians living in districts to the south as well as visitors.
The third route proposed was similar in concept and intended to accommodate Bajans and visitors from the West Coast and northern districts.
The fourth would have started in the then Julie’N car park, now Mall Internationle, in Haggatt Hall and accommodate people living around and beyond that area such as Boarded Hall, South District, the Ivy, Wildey and the Pine.
Well, we ended up with permission being granted for only a section of one of those routes to be used for Foreday Morning. That was from Independence Square to Spring Garden. It was subsequently made even shorter due to problems with the crunch of thousands along the Wharf Road.
The question again is: 20 000 Crop Over revellers jumping at the same time, on the same road, on the same night?
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.