The good, the bad, the ugly FLASHBACK ON EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page - By Da­van­dra Babb

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

Festival De­signer of the Year Kevin Small with his tro­phy and new car.

RPB won the Sweet Soca ti­tle.

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