Crop Over Culture
It goes without saying that the Caribbean has four official seasons – Carnival, Cricket, Crop Over and Christmas.
Crop Over is the major cultural festival of Barbados and signifies the end of the once dominant sugar cane crop harvest. The party carnival involves a wide variety of entertainment and celebrations that brings thousands of tourists to the island each year.
Crop Over season is held throughout July and ends in a big Grand Kadooment Day finale parade on the first Monday in August.
This large street parade brings both local and international revelers to ‘jump up’ in extravagant costumes all the way from Warrens in St. Michael to the Spring Garden Highway, where the party continues to the early hours of the morning. And, the best part is, anyone can join in the festivities, so it’s a definite ‘must do’ while you’re in Barbados.
In the lead up to the parade, the festival features numerous calypso and soca music competitions, among other cultural activities. For many Barbadians living overseas, the months of July and August are the most popular to return home, to coincide with all of the Crop Over fun and frivolity.
Did you know? The festival has very strong ties back to the original African slaves. In fact, it is said it was the slaves who actually invented the Crop Over custom through their celebrations of the end of the hard sugar cane labour, when the crops were harvested.
What Else Can I Expect?
The Crop Over social calendar is jam packed with excitement from as early as May, beginning with the popular Community Cavalcades. This series of four small stage shows is a musical and entertainment showcase where local artistes get a chance to perform a preview of their songs, as well as help garner popularity and hype for the upcoming festival season.
Each week, the outdoor concert Cavalcades travel to a different parish on the island, giving people from all over the opportunity to participate in the festivities.
Another way to enjoy the festival is by supporting the local Calypso Tents. The tents are where you will hear some of the more controversial party and social commentary songs that don’t necessarily make it onto national airwaves. Each tent provides its own unique experience and the local calypsonian acts are judged to determine who will proceed to the infamous Party Monarch and the Pic-o-de-Crop competitions.
The Cohobblopot stage show is another part of the Crop Over festival not to be missed. This event is a big carnival-like affair showcasing all the hottest music from Barbados and the Caribbean, dance acts, the King and Queen of the Bands parade, local food and so much more. It’s held all in one location, and all in one night (usually the last weekend of the Crop Over season).
Another very popular event in the Crop Over calendar is the Fore Day Morning Jump Up, which starts after the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals, the Friday night before the Monday Grand Kadooment Day parade. This night-time street party continues into the early hours of Saturday morning where revelers plaster themselves with mud, paint and oil as they jump up and dance to the big music trucks as they make their way down the road.
The grand finale of the Crop Over season is the infamous Grand Kadooment Day parade. There’s lots of action on this day and even if you’re not part of an official jumping ‘band’, you can still enjoy all that this highlight has to offer from the sidelines. Food and drink stalls line the Spring Garden Highway and there’s plenty of entertainment for all to enjoy.
Trust us, mark this festival in your calendar – it’s a Totally Barbados experience not to be missed!
Want To Know More?
For more information about events and festivals happening island-wide, and for the upcoming Crop Over program, check out our Totally Barbados Events Calendar.
By: Brett Callaghan