The good, the bad, the ugly FLASHBACK ON ENTERTAINMENT
In a matter of hours we will welcome a new year. A clean slate, fresh, blank and untouched with many memories to make and lots to do.
But as is customary, before we go forward, we must pause, look back and reflect on the year that was. In the entertainment world, the year 2017 was eventful, but marred with bouts of controversy. Some which we are all hoping will be resolved and not be repeated in the coming year.
Crop Over, our main festival, in comparison to previous years, was okay at best. The season was filled with some controversy which threatened to put a damper on the festivities.
At the start of the season, The Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM) threatened to disrupt Grand Kadooment after several issues which bandleaders were facing were not addressed by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
At the time, BAM had said the bandleaders were at their wits end after years of promises and no action, vowing that there would be “some unusual and unexpected additions to the parade”.
However, after a number of meetings with Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, he announced a settlement in which BAM received $50 000 increase in subvention, and would vie for $30 000 more in prize money.
“I believe the masqueraders in terms of what they have put on the table and what they have requested are reasonable. I also agree with them that in a festival that has generated consistently in excess of $50 million, that we should be ensuring that the stakeholders in the festival believe and actually receive the kind of encouragement that is needed for them to do what they have to do to make the festival what it is.”
However, the controversy did not end there; in fact, that was the beginning. Some major bands pulled out of the festivities, some citing financial difficulties.
The popular bands Fantasy, Crop Over Experience, Ravurz as well as Foreday bands Island Fusion and Collision Entertainment were the bands which missed this year’s jump.
Collision pointed fingers at the National Cultural Foundation, saying it was at loggerheads with the agency.
Fantasy cited, among issues, the challenging economic climate for its withdrawal.
“Our ability to deliver an optimum product to you became severely compromised and we met to explore all avenues to ensure you, the masquerader, is at the forefront of benefit in this process. It is not and will never be our practice to subject you to a sub-standard product. Therefore, as a result of the developments, we have been forced to make the very difficult decision of cancelling our masquerade band for Crop Over 2017.”
Bandleader Kevin Small also faced his