Barbados - Crop Over and Festivals
Crop Over, a five-week summer festival, is Barbados' most popular and colourful festival. It's origins can be traced back to the 1780's, a time when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest - the Crop Over celebration. As the sugar industry in Barbados declined, so too did the Crop Over festival and in the 1940's the festival was terminated completely. However, the festival was revived in 1974 and other elements of Barbadian culture were infused to make the extravaganza that exists today ..... an event that attracts thousands of people from across the globe.
The festival begins with the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Festival - the most productive male and female cane cutters of the season.
Bridgetown Market consists of several stalls which sell local food and beverages as well as local arts and crafts. Enjoy the calypso music and the live tuk bands as you browse through the stalls.
Cohobblopot is a huge carnival-like show with members of the Kadooment bands displaying their elaborate and stunning costumes. In recent years there has also been a huge entertainment package with the most popular calypsonians and bands performing to packed audiences.
The children are not left out as they can participate in the Kiddies Kadooment, donning beautiful costumes and joining their friends in a band to parade before the judges of the competition.
Folk concerts and art and photographic exhibitions are integral parts of the festival, highlighting Barbadian history and culture as well as the artistic talents of Bajans.
Calypso is one of the main features of the Crop Over festival. The calypsonians are organised into "tents" (Conquerers, Untouchables, House of Soca, Pioneers, Stray Cats,etc) and these tents are sponsored by Barbados businesses. Calypsonians compete for several prizes and titles, including the Party Monarch, the Road March Monarch and the Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch. The semi-finals of the Pic-O-De-Crop competition are held at the picturesque East Coast Road, where the calypsonians perform on a stage with the Atlantic surf as the backdrop while the spectators gather in the hillsides with their picnic baskets. This magnificent spectacle should not be missed! The finals of the Pic-O-De-Crop competition is held at the National Stadium, and this is followed by the Fore-Day Morning Jump-Up!
The grande finale is the Grand Kadooment! This carnival parade features large bands with members dressed in elaborate costumes to depict various themes. Designers compete for the coveted Designer of the Year prize while the revelers seem more intent on having a good time! The revelers make their way from the National Stadium to Spring Garden accompanied by the pulsating rythym of calypso music. When they reach Spring Garden, the party continues with more fantastic music, lots of food and drink and, for some, a quick swim at the nearby beach. A grand end to a grand festival.
Barbados Jazz Festival:
The Barbados Jazz Festival, which celebrates the best in international and local jazz talent, has become a major annual Caribbean event. Venues typically include the modern Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, historic Sunbury Plantation House, and the popular open air venue, Farley Hill National Park.
The Holetown Festival commemorates the anniversary of the first settlement of Barbados at Holetown in February 1627. The week-long festival begins in mid-February with the opening celebrations taking place at the Holetown Monument. The festival highlights local arts and crafts as well as Barbadian culture and history, and events typically include: historical lectures, fashion shows, beauty contests, street parades, tattoo shows, exhibitions, concerts, theatrical presentations, sporting events and an antique car parade
Congaline Carnival was started in 1994 and it's emphasis is on good music and fun! The Congaline Village is the focal point of the festival. Set up on the Dover playing field in St.Lawrence Gap, the village consists of several food and beverage stalls as well as local arts and crafts stalls. The Village features entertainment in the form of comedy and music shows, with the music varying from gospel to calypso. The night-time entertainment is especially popular, with the best calypso and reggae singers from Barbados and other Caribbean islands performing. As you see the colourful spectacle of the Carnival and the diversity of the people, enjoy the local food and beverages on offer and dance to the sweet strains of calypso, you will agree that the Congaline Carnival is well worth the visit!
Founded in 1993, the Holders Season is established as the premier cultural event in the Caribbean. Acclaimed nationally and internationally, the season is a celebration of opera, music and theatre. The production always plays to capacity houses and it's high artistic standard draws audiences from around the world.
Barbadians are very religious people and there are over 100 religious sects operating in Barbados. Against this backdrop it is inevitable that there would be a large religious festival on the island. Gospel music plays an important role in the spiritual lives of Barbadians and the growth of Gospelfest is indicative of this fact. This festival of religious music brings together some of the top gospel artistes from North America, the Caribbean and Barbados. Much of the popularity of the festival is due to the presence of popular international artistes such as Dr.Bobby Jones and Jeff White. The music of this festival is very diverse and includes reggae, calypso, jazz and soul. Whatever your style, you will find the music and the festival uplifting and inspirational.
Oistins Fish Festival:
Held at the town of Oistins on the South Coast of Barbados, the Oistins Fish Festival celebrates the contribution made to Barbados by those persons involved in the local fishing industry. The festival is a unique attraction that offers fun and entertainment for both locals and visitors alike. Enjoy the sweet strains of calypso and reggae music coming from the sidewalk stalls. Of course dancing to all that music builds up an appetite, so head for the food and beverage stalls and enjoy traditional Bajan fare such as fish cakes, fried fish and pudding and souse, all washed down with a cool Banks Beer. Local arts and crafts can also be found in abundance as local craftsmen take the opportunity to display their wares. Entertaining, the Oistins Fish Festival certainly is! The fish boning competition is a huge attraction for both locals and visitors as is the grease-pole competition!
Celebrating the heritage of the Celtic cultures, this festival includes music, song, and dance, and attracts Irish, Welch and Scottish visitors and residents of Barbados, the Caribbean and beyond. Typical events include: Haggis Nite, International Nite, Highland Games and a Rugby Tournament.
Information courtesy the The Barbados Tourism Authority