Everybody knows, Crop Over 2018 is coming. The number of bands this year has surprisingly increased, even with the departure of Fantasy TCE last year. Adzoa, Eunoia Khepri Kulture and Pampalam have all thrown their hats into the ring to compete with the other bands for Crop Over 2018. Who will emerge victorious this year? The stakes are high for new bands to prove themselves and convince new followers to join them while the established Crop Over bands can't afford to slip up or risk losing support and masqueraders.
Sadly, it seems as though the increased bands are competing for a shrinking pie, as Kadooment numbers have been on a steady decline for the last few years. Foreday Morning holds the greater sway with many Barbadians, while the sheer volume of fetes occurring throughout the season, especially the last week of Crop Over, means that visitors are burning out their money in feteing as opposed to jumping. After hearing some horror stories from years before, some visitors are preferring to take a more conservative approach to Crop Over, preferring rather to fete rather than spend lots of money on a costume to be met with lackluster service and poorly produced costumes. Bands will have to step up and show out how they are bringing something different to the table, something which sets them apart from other bands while giving masqueraders an amazing experience. Some bands have struggled on the service front, especially band house service and regular communication, even though their costumes may be gorgeous or affordable. If masqueraders are coming away from your band house feeling disgruntled enough to hit social media with their rage, you are definitely doing something wrong.
Hopefully one day the numbers slide for Kadooment can be reversed. For now, the trend is for Bajans to choose Foreday Morning as an alternative. The night hours, the shroud of darkness for wutlesstissery (Bajans are a conservative people who are heavily invested in respectability politics), the affordable costumes, the coolness of the night combined with the unhinged revelry of j'ouvert style events means that more people are signing on to play dutty mas through the streets of Bridgetown.
The only question we have for our followers is, who you jumping wid fuh Kadooment? Masqueraders are spoilt for choice on bands to choose from and undoubtedly this will be a year with a record number of bands on the road for Kadooment. It's left to be seen if the (new) Government will finally step up to help bands with duty-free concessions on the importation of feathers and other raw materials to help Barbados' largest national festival's climax but that is a converation for another time.
(Well really, we have lots of questions. Are you excited for Band Launch Season where new costumes will be premiered from as early as this Sunday, March 18th? Will you take a chance with one of the new bands? Is it your first time at Kadooment and you feel spoilt for choice? Did you have a bad experience last year with your band and are you now looking for something new? We want to hear from you! Drop your comments below.)
*EDIT: We added a new date to the list.
Is that you Colorz we see?
We love how the list is filling out nicely! Are you excited for how this season is shaping up?