Crop Over: Still Sweet Fuh Days!

Fiery grills sizzle simultaneously, a peppery perfume in the cool night air. Fresh flying fish, succulent chicken and perfectly seasoned pork, marinate in a sweet and savoury fusion of Caribbean flair. A rainbow of dainty feathers and glistening beads parade the winding roads lined with succulent sugar cane. It’s a sea of red, yellow, green and purple hues waving in grand splendour against the backdrop of azure blue waters and golden-sand shores. A gentle hum rumbles through the atmosphere; slow and steady in the high noonday sun. Feet involuntarily tap the earth below as the tempo quickens and the bass line intensifies. Rhythmic pulses envelope the hearts of every Bajan – permanent and visiting alike. Trumpeting horns signal the start of the sweetest summer festival: Crop Over in Barbados.

The Crop Over summer festival is an explosion of Barbadiana. A potpourri of pigments, infectious rhythms and tantalizing tastes, there is simply no experience like it in Barbados. Perhaps Crop Over’s greatest appeal is that while it encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a Barbadian, the festival’s core message of unity transcends nationality; resonating with many and enjoyed by all. This message is a common theme in the island’s most popular soca songs in recent history, including All ah We by Peter Ram and even the Square One classic, Togetherness.

The six-week celebrationis a striking production of art, culture, dance, fashion, food and music. Each of these avenues calls you explore the journey of the island’s rich heritage, from the preserved beginnings of the sugar cane industry to the modern-day island we love to love. Opening with a Thanksgiving Service and culminating in the Grand Kadooment costume parade, there’s something in between for everyone to enjoy.

Music to your ears

Steel Pan Celebration

Though more popularly associated with neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago, steel pan has a special place in the hearts of Bajans. Proving the harmonious sounds can be enjoyed across a range of diverse backdrops, Crop Over boasts three steel pan events: Pan Fusion at Ilaro Court, the Prime Minister’s official residence; Pan Around De Town in Speightstown, a historic fisherman’s town in the north of the island; and Pan Pun De Sand, a Sunday afternoon beach party, and the most popular of the pan events. Pan Fusion, Pan Around De Town and Pan Pun De Sand are free for all to enjoy.

Soca Royale Competition

Soca Royale is a trio of Bajan favourites: food, music and liming with friends. The Bushy Park venue comes ablaze, not with race cars but the soca stars of Barbados, who vie for three of the biggest music titles of the CropOver festival season – Sweet Soca Monarch, Party Monarch and more recently, BashmentSoca Monarch. Thousands participate in this all-day party and competition, making a picnic of it.

Arts & Crafts

Crop Over Visual Arts Festival

This exhibition showcases the best of entries from the annual Crop Over Fine Arts and Fine Crafts competitions. Enjoy over 150 exhibits featuring the best of contemporary fine art and craft being produced in Barbados today. This is a show not to be missed by art-loving Barbadians and visitors to the island.

Crop Over Craft Works

Held at the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, this event celebrates creativity, innovation and design. Come for the best in art and craft that Barbados has to offer including woodwork, leather craft, pottery, basketry, metalwork, home décor and textiles; stay for the Bajan eats and live entertainment – including a fashion show.

Fun for the entire family!

Junior Kadooment

The Junior Kadooment, affectionately called ‘Kiddies Kadooment’, is a smaller version of the Grand Kadooment – without the street parade. Bands of costumed juniors vie for titles and prizes. Judging is based on portrayal, craftsmanship, presentation, originality and visual impact. Fun for the whole family!

Bridgetown Market

This three-day street fair and market is one of the major to-dos of the Crop Over festival. It covers a long stretch of highway in capital city Bridgetown, offering a range of food, art and craft, jewellery and fine art for sale, along with live entertainment. Admission is free and the atmosphere is perfect for a family outing. The weekend’s festivities are set against the backdrop of the popular Brandons beach.

Bringing history to life

Heritage Walk

Did you know that on June 25, 2011 Barbados joined an elite group of nations with world heritage properties when Historic Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List? During Crop Over, this capital city comes alive at night with the Heritage Walk. The guided tour from Cricket Legends to Independence Square chronicles some of Barbados’ most defining moments in history. Relive the 1937 Riots and meet the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, the island’s first Prime Minister, on this great historical adventure.

Heritage Lecture and Tours

Two of Barbados’s landmark historic sites, George Washington House and Museum, and the Historic Garrison are located just a stone’s throw away from each other. This tour, packed with special re-enactments and lectures, celebrates some of the mysteries of this little island, including the secret tunnels only rediscovered in 2011. Oral history tells that the tunnels were adopted for use as ‘escape routes’ for the Garrison troops, should the area have ever been invaded, and other clandestine customs.

Colourful culture on display

ForedayMornin’

It wouldn’t be a Caribbean carnival without a J’ouvert element, and Barbados is no exception to this unwritten rule. The last Friday before the grand finale, the streets of Bridgetown are lit up with revellers slinging mud, paint and oil to the tunes of the season’s biggest hits. Thousands flock to the capital to be a part of this fore day morning jam that doesn’t end until the sun rises over Spring Garden highway – another unwritten rule.

Grand Kadooment

The array of colour sweeping across the island, the winning songs pulsating in the wind; it goes without saying that this grand finale of the Crop Over season is bittersweet. Revellers spend months after selecting costumes from their favourite bands, waiting anxiously to parade their beaded crowns and feathered boots before the world. But they know once they take to the streets, it will be their last ‘hurrah’ until next year. The all-day parade has won the hearts of many, including the celebrity likes of Columbus Short, Lewis Hamilton, and of course, our very own Rihanna!

 

Oistins

City Fest

Kadooment

Culture