I’m writing to you while enjoying a countryside view of the beautiful island of Barbados.
After a long hiatus I returned this summer to witness the huge carnival event known as Crop Over. The festivities began in June and reached its climax the first Monday in August with The Grand Kadooment. Masqueraders from Canada, the USA, and UK and beyond descend on the little island known as the rock. A few days before I landed the winners were announced for two of the main singing competitions. Former Krosfyah front man and Triple Crown winner Edwin Yearwood took home the sweet soca crown for his first time singing “Party ah de year.” Peter Ram added another title under is already impressive belt winning the party monarch with his hit “All ah we.” Veteran calypsonian WilliaCropoverm “Classic” Waithe captured his very first Pic-O-De-Crop final this past weekend.
So many events, people and places, there’s always something to enjoy. I spent my first couple days soaking in the crystal clear waters of Brown beach.
On my third day I attended an event called Q in the community. This is a free weekly outdoor event featuring today’s soca hits and specializing in oldies. Line dancing and the two-step are extremely popular in BIM and I must say it’s a beautiful site to witness.
Anyone who has ever visited Barbados knows Oistins fish fry is a must attend during your stay. It’s a one stop of crafts, food, music and people. Several trucks blasted their way through on the way to fore day morning. This Bajan version of J’ouvert starts Friday at midnight and revelers chip down Spring Garden highway until sunrise. Later that Saturday morning the parade route is closed to cars and transforms into Bridgetown market. For the entire weekend yochristian bandu can hear sweet soca while eating some fish cakes and sipping a banks beer or fruitee for those under 18. Vendors line both sides of the road selling all kinds of goodies.
Pic-O-De-Crop, the final and most prestigious singing competition takes place at the recently built Kensington Oval. After three decades of dedication, long-time competitor Classic won his first title ever singing “In Bed Together” and “Something Fishy,” which scored 98 points and gave him the win over Donella. Classic’s 32 years of trying is proof that perseverance overcomes obstacles.
The following night at the very same venue that hosted the World Cup of Cricket, Soca King Machel Montano presented his One Love fete. The star-studded lineup featured some of the biggest names in the business from Barbados and neighboring islands. Crowd favorites like Red Plastic Bag, Edwin, King Bubba and Peter Ram, just to name a few, all performed.
Mr. HD himself, a marching band in tow, made a grand entrance from outside the venue. It was similar to a prizefighter making his way to the ring for a title match. He hit the stage at 12:30 a.m. with his popular hit “Like Ah Boss,” which drove the over 10,000 in attendance into a frenzy. Machel started in high gear and never looked back, singing hit after hit. It rained on and off throughout his performance, but the vibes didn’t end. Machel brought along some friends like locals Fadda Fox of “Ducking” fame, Lead Pipe and Saddis who sang their 2014 smash “Ah Feeling.” Vincy’s own Skinny Fabulous, African artist Timaya, and his “Party done” partner Angela Hunte, all of whom were very well received by the audience.
Already an extremely high-energy event from the start, things went into an even higher gear when Machel introduced the biggest star the Caribbean has ever seen. It was a pleasant shock to all when Bajan-born world famous Rihanna took the stage performing “Betta have my money” which caused pandemonium, to say the least. Machel put together a phenomenal event that was well worth the $100 (Bds) entry fee that I would have had no problem paying had I not had a media pass. This was the first time I witnessed a soca event of this magnitude, and seeing it in the islands was extra special. During his set, Machel mentioned that Caribana was nice the day before, but Crop Over shell down lol.
So after weeks of partying it was now time for the ultimate fete, Kadooment day. We came down early and got a great spot to set up shop to witness the mas players. At 10:30 a.m. I saw the first truck, a Christian band started things off. There was a brief pause then band after band came rolling through the streets showcasing Bajan, Caribbean culture. Once again Rihanna made an appearance in her home- town as she played mas.
Veteran bandleader Betty West won her fifth large band of the year title for Positive Vibes at the Republic Bank grand Kadooment. She beat Laura Galt’s Lucky Horseshoe Jump Promotions Wet Ya Whistle into second, while Krave The Band’s Wild Wild West by Avery Hackett placed third.
I haven’t left the island yet and already I have received invitations to return for Crop Over 2016. Right now I’m focused on an island tour tomorrow, making a few last stops in Bridgetown, Oistins, and most of all a final sea bath at Browns beach.
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