BE OUR GUEST: More thought needed on Foreday Morning
As Foreday Morning Jam moved from the Friday before Kadooment Day to the Saturday, back to Friday on the Crop Over calendar, many bandleaders and patrons have been quite vocal about their respective positions.
For Island Fusion, we must admit that we have no real preference for one day over the other except our concern that the Saturday into Sunday option might disrupt neighbouring churches. We do, however, appreciate some finality on the issue, particularly for the benefit of our client base – both local and international.
If nothing else, the indecision surrounding this issue confirms our view that there needs to be far more careful thought given to Foreday as a whole, especially before radical changes are made. This must necessarily involve more meaningful consultation with stakeholders such as the producers of the bands that participate in this night parade.
We have already publicly shared our views on the new costume regulations, even though less than ten per cent of our patrons enjoy this element. We are even more concerned about additional trade-restricting rules recently circulated by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) which seek to cap Foreday bands at 1 000 people, while preventing one person or entity from producing multiple bands. Kadooment bands face no such restrictions. This policy effectively punishes approximately five of the larger bands for distinguishing their respective products and consistently delivering quality and value for money that patrons appreciate. In our opinion, this is no way to develop a national cultural event.
Foreday Morning Jam and the Crop Over festival would benefit immensely once the powers that be start to sincerely consider valid stakeholders concerns before making decisions that adversely affect them. Even once decisions are on the table, it is important, especially in the current economic climate, to be open-minded, strategic and flexible. It is for this reason that we are particularly encouraged by Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley’s willingness to reverse the change of date decision. We can only hope that similar consultations will be facilitated in respect of the other proposed changes.
Indeed, it is our view that with so many elements being slashed from this year’s Crop Over calendar, it is critical that we do not misstep in terms of the Foreday Morning Jam. Its phenomenal growth over the past five years has unearthed an underestimated potential which Island Fusion hopes will be facilitated, nurtured and capitalised on. We stand ready to assist and will continue to be vocal on this and similar issues of significant national cultural interest.
Island Fusion looks forward to Foreday Morning Jam 2014 as we celebrate our fifth anniversary by making the most of these challenges whilst giving our supporters the very best experience we possibly can.
– Island fusion is a Foreday Morning band.