EDITORIAL: Good move for culture
We welcome the news that major changes are coming for next year’s Crop Over Festival.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley recently announced that in 2015, Foreday Morning Jam will be held on the Friday – July 31, while the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals will take place on the Saturday – August 1.
While this separation did occur this year, due to an adverse weather forecast, next year’s plan is more deliberate.
There is no doubt that this change was inevitable given the growth of Foreday Morning which has now ballooned. This year there were 54 bands registered, while 45 were on the road.
The minister is also quoted as saying that he did not believe Foreday would herald the demise of Grand Kadooment which attracts fewer bands. However, while this may be so, what is necessary is for officials to relook this event which is the climax of the festival, to ensure it does not die a slow death.
Bandleaders, too, will have to take stock and look at why more people are gravitating towards the early morning jump-up, instead of revelling in the spectacle of Kadooment.
Many would not argue that the time was coming for the split in the days dedicated to two of the main events of the season – Foreday and the Finals – particularly since the jump starts immediately after the naming of the Pic-O-De-Crop winner. Security and police manpower would naturally have been under severe strain to contain law and order on the streets given the growing crowd that spill onto the stretch of the Spring Garden Highway.
Now that the minister has announced this plan early in the game, it is incumbent on all the stakeholders of the festival to sit and talk and iron out any kinks to ensure a smooth transition.
A point to ponder is that with this change those who organise parties for the Saturday may well have to relook their own plans and either change the day, or certainly the times to capitalise on numbers. It may also be that these organisers are okay with the change. The fact remains that there must be dialogue and buy-in if the festival is to be a success.
It was also welcoming news to hear that the calls from Grand Kadooment bandleaders for incentives and tax exemptions, including VAT, would be answered with finalisation of the Cultural Industries Development Act.
With this act still to be proclaimed, and we hope soon, and the expected exemptions to come, we also are encouraged that the creativity which so many say is lost in the spectacle of Crop Over will be regained, and we will see more people coming forward to showcase their designs and works of art on the road.
This is a step in the right direction and with all the ducks lining up, we are optimistic that Crop Over 2015 will indeed be seen as the sweetest summer festival.