Monday, 18 July 2016

Crop Over Festival Guide

As the weather heats up, its time for Crop over Festival, one of the biggest and brightest celebrations in Barbados! This colourful festival spans over the month of July, ending in early August with the incredible 'Grand Kadooment' parade which is filled with elaborately dressed dancers, bright carnival costumes and lively calypso bands. This is definitely one of the most exciting times of year to visit the island with thousands of visitors from around the World coming to join in the famous Bajan celebrations! 

Brief history of Crop Over Festival

Crop Over Festival dates back to the 1780's,when Barbados was the World's largest producer of sugar. At the end over every sugar crop season, the hard working harvesters would have a big celebration to mark another successful sugar cane harvest. 

As the sugar industry declined on the island, so did the celebrations and in the 1940's the festival was completely stopped for nearly 30 years. In 1974, Crop Over Festival was brought back to life by the Barbados Tourism Authority to become a celebration of Bajan culture and its rich history. 

What on during the festival?

The Crop Over Festival runs for 24 days every summer, starting on the second Saturday in July with a colourful parade through Bridgetown. Giant colourful floats, carnival bands and decorated carts ride through the town to the National Stadium where the opening gala is held. Here a sugarcane king and queen are crowned, who used to be chose as the most productive sugar crop workers of the season.

Throughout the 3 weeks, there are various parties, concerts, food festivals and other fun events to be enjoyed. Music is always a central point of the festival with the sound of calypso, soca and steel drums filling the air. 

The last week of the festival is when the more popular events take place. Bridgetown Market Street Fair is a food and music festival with plenty of food stalls, an arts fair (great for souvenirs!), Barbadian cooking contests and calypso music. 

The Big Finale

The finale weekend is the biggest party weekend of the year in Barbados! It starts with the wild Pic-o-de-crop calypso competition finals with extraordinary costumes, body paint and livebands which finishes with a spontaneous street party!  The next morning the Foreday Morning Jam takes place with 3.5km of dancing through the streets. On Sunday you can enjoy the Cohobblopot calypso show from the winners of the Party monarch. 

The Grand Kadooment, which is Bajan for “Big Deal” or “Big Fuss,”where various groups and individuals compete with themed costumes and song for titles including the Calypso Monarch, Road March Monarch, and Sweet Soca Monarch. Here is where you will see the famous pictures of people in headdresses, feather crowns and carnival outfits for the epic parade of live music, fireworks and partying through the night. There's no standing and watching here, so be prepared to dance til dawn!

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