Barbados' Crop Over: The Sweetest Summer Festival

Andre Hoyte Contributor

Beyond your Imagination exists Sweetest Summer Festival… The Festival is more than a carnival. Climaxing with one mega market of food, art, music, Barbadian J’ouvert known as Foreday morning, Bridgetown Market is party central.

Barbados: Joy, Bacchanal, Abandonment

Without prejudice and truthfully touted as the ‘Sweetest Summer Festival’ by revellers the world over, Barbados’ Crop Over epitomizes a time of joy, bacchanal and sheer abandon. Set against the backdrop of friendly people, hypnotizing blue waters and sandy beaches, this is the perfect Caribbean destination to help you recapture your joie de vivre all year round and especially during the summer. 

From June to August, this Barbadian Cultural Fest is an extravaganza of 32 events climaxing with a Grand Kadooment of Masquarade filled with food, colour and revelry. Rooted in the island’s rich heritage of Sugar Cane, Crop Over harkens back to a time when Sugar Cane was ‘King’ in the Caribbean.  Earliest accounts note that in 1798 a Harvest Home Festival celebrated the end of the sugar harvest with slaves and planters alike celebrating in song, dance and merriment.  Borne out of these celebrations, Crop Over today continues to signal the end of the sugar cane harvest in what is now a national display of cultural heritage, creativity and spectacle which has evolved into the Sweetest Summer Festival.

Barbados Crop Over, Sweetest Summer Festival, Mother Sallies

Capturing Everything ‘Barbadiana’

The Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, signaling the official start of the Festival is a uniquely Barbadian cultural event, peppered with historical references and mixed with modern day entertainment. This is a must see for visitors who wish to capture a one-stop shop experience of everything ‘Barbadiana’. At this event, in the presence of dignitaries and throngs of patrons, national homage is paid to symbols of Festival’s Heritage – those plantation workers who harvest the most sugar canes for the season, with the ultimate crowning of the ‘King and Queen of the Crop.

No where else in the world can you find Pan fused with Jazz and Tuk Band Rhythms on a hill side picnic; or Pan under the stars on the water’s edge of one of one oldest historic colonial cities; or the great Caribbean Pan showdown set against two miles of white sand and crystal blue water. To do this you must experience the Sweetest Summer Festival in Barbados, Crop Over.

Of course, party enthusiasts are offered the ultimate carousing experience with events like Soca Royale and Cohobblopot. Soca Royale packs a powerful double punch featuring the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch Competitions. Meanwhile, the premier international event, Cohobblopot is the ultimate showcase of the Season’s monarchs, popular artistes both local and international and soca hits.

Barbados Crop Over, Sweetest Summer Festival

‘Festival Fever’ seizes the Senses: Something for Everyone!

But!… to this London boy from the Caribbean returning home, the Sweetness of Crop Over can only be described as a sensation which the palate and spine must savour in unison.  It is the tingle echoing in the eardrum that sends a sweet vibration down to the spine, which at once unleashes a ‘festival fever’ that seizes the senses. It signals the time to remove the tension caused by the pin which has locked the body in an upright position for many a month. It is a time of true abandon permitting the spirit of the festival to enter the soul. And so, finding oneself humming a favorite tune; partying non-stop for 24 hours; making new friends from across the world for the first time; and enjoying the magnificence of great food, topped with the worlds oldest rums and spirits is not an uncommon outcome.

As the Sweetest Summer Festival, Crop Over offers something for everyone, with its visual artists celebrating the best in fine art and craft in the Visual arts Festival to the ever popular Poetry Slam event READ-IN! The Festival is more than a carnival. Climaxing with one mega market of food, art, music, Barbadian J’ouvert known as Foreday morning, Bridgetown Market is party central on the final weekend of Crop Over and of course Grand Kadooment is the icing on the cake with thousand upon thousands masquerading in a 4mile long sea of colour, topped sugar coated with Sweet Soca music and spectacle toast to the one magical event known simply as Crop Over…the Sweetest Summer Festival!

More information from VisitBarbados.org

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24 July, 2013