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Cream of the Crop Over

BAJAN PRIDE: Revellers enjoy Crop Over in Barbados

KADOOMENT Day. Cohobblopot. Pic-O-De-Crop. Soca Monarch. These are just a few words and phrases that you’ll hear throughout July and especially during the first week of August in Barbados, as the island presents Crop Over.

One of the most vibrant times for music, colour and culture on the Caribbean island, Crop Over truly brings tourism together with local life and embraces all generations.

In the late 1700s, the festival was the main reason to celebrate the harvesting of sugar cane, which was the crop that kept the island economically buoyant and healthy. At that time, Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar – so why wouldn’t you celebrate?

As the harvesting of sugar became a more challenging feat, the industrial side of the crop went into decline and there was a period when the festival no longer existed.

However, with the increase of tourism and the prospect of it rising to become the main earner on the island, Crop Over is now one of the most exciting festivals that encapsulates all things Bajan. From music to culture, food to family, and all the electrifying energy in between, Crop Over attracts visitors to Barbados from across the globe.

Bridgetown Market with its arts and crafts; the Carnival show Cohobblopot with the bands and their costumes; and not forgetting the calypsonians performing and warming up audiences, the festival provides some of the finest entertainment.

I love that although music is the main feature of the festival, this is also a time when photographic and art exhibitions can be attended and folk festivals and historical events are in full swing.

The shopping opportunities are also endless, whether you want to purchase some artwork from a market, or visit the amazing Lime Grove with its high-end shops like Louis Vuitton.

Oistins in a must anytime during the year for the best fish, or you could travel up to the north of the island to St Lucy and enjoy an evening at Moon Town.

Business in Barbados is also booming at this time as music venues (or tents) are sponsored by local businesses, and you can enjoy entertainment each day and evening. You can also watch concerts and competitions for the Road March Monarch, the Party Monarch and the Sweet Soca Monarch.

Another one of my loves about this season is the inclusion of young people and children, who are also very much involved in Crop Over. It is so enriching to see the younger generation willingly taking part in Kiddies Kadooment, which keeps the festival alive as the culture is passed down through generations.

Dancing with mass bands down Spring Garden Highway, the Morning Jump Up whilst enjoying the music Bajan greats including Mac Fingal, Alison Hinds, TC, Red Plastic Bag, Edwin Yearwood and Krosfyah – there are so many reasons to embrace this festival.

Still, if you can’t make it to Crop Over, you can enjoy a slice of Bajan entertainment right here on our UK shores. The inaugural Essence of Crop Over event will take place this weekend and will be an evening of sublime entertainment, hosted by my good self.

Presented in association with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the National Council of Barbadian Associations, The Essence of Crop Over will feature comedy with Wayne Dibbi Rollins, music from soca sensation Ms Desire, culture, dancing, lots of food – and of course, a little rum. We need to keep that sugar connection in there, after all!

The Essence of Crop Over takes place at The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Place, London W1 on July 16. For more information, call 020 7030 4977 or visit www.Barbados50.co.uk

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