The National Cultural Foundation
St. James, Barbados
On Wednesday, July 1st the National Cultural Foundation launched its ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Festival – the Republic Bank Grand Kadooment.
Mr. Wayne Webster, Manager Administration at the NCF told the audience of mainly media, bank officials and customers that this year, the Grand Kadooment product is attracting a level of sponsorship not seen since 2008. He said that the major sponsor the Republic Bank, made a switch from their usual investment at the opening of the season, to instead pour their financial support into the climax of the season.
Mr. Webster reiterated the sentiment of the Honourable Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth that this ‘jewel’ of the Festival, is very much alive. He expressed confidence that there is room in the Festival for growth in both Grand Kadooment and Foreday morning, demonstrated through the increase in visitor arrivals and hotel occupancy levels during the period, the emergence of new bands, the thousands watching and masquerading and now major sponsorship of the Grand Kadooment product.
He noted that this sponsorship will allow for an overall increase in the prize monies for the bands. Last year, an inaugural prize of a trip to Brazil for the Most Promising Emerging Designer was launched and this year, compliments the Republic Bank, the winner will also enjoy the addition of a cash prize. The trip to Brazil gives the emerging designer exposure to the Samba Schools, along with the ability to network with other designers. It also offers a different outlook on cultures and practices within the industry all with the hope of bringing the creativity back into our local masquerade. Costume Designer Kevin Small was the first recipient of this opportunity.
The message that Grand Kadooment 2015 will be at the National Stadium was reinforced. The NCF reconfirmed that they have put measures in place to ensure the safety of patrons at all entrances to the venue, and that there will also be covered seating available on the velodrome for patrons to enjoy the parade of the bands.
Coming out of the cultural exchange earlier in the year promoting “The Next Big Party After Carnival,” Mr. Webster told of a successful collaboration between the NCF, BTMI and Digicel Trinidad, on a ‘text to win’ promotion for the second year, which will see five lucky Digicel Trinidadian customers enjoying a round-trip to Barbados, tickets to NCF events during the final weekend like Pic-O-De-Crop, and costumes for a Republic Bank Grand Kadooment experience. The winners recently selected, will arrive in Barbados on July 31st.
In speaking to the audience, Webster identified the Republic Bank Grand Kadooment as one of the main showcase windows, to sell this beautiful country to the world and advocated for responsible behavior during the Festival, remembering that the image we portray is what people will take away.
With scores of international journalists on the island during this period and of course with the impact of the social media, he said that the coverage of festival, to use the language of social media, has gone viral. Last year alone there was an increase in the international coverage from organisations like CNN and the Huffington Post. Barbados was even listed among the Best Caribbean Celebrations in the 10Best.com Readers’ Choice Awards, a division of USA Today and even more recently it was favourably rated by the well-known travel review website TripAdvisor.
Webster suggested that all these things cemented the significance of this sponsorship and its invaluable impact on the further growth of the ‘jewel in the crown’ and that it was through the support of the Republic Bank that this would all be possible. He thanked the Republic Bank for their continued commitment to the Festival and hoped that this new three year agreement on an injection of cash into the Grand Kadooment product will bear fruit for both the organisation (the Republic Bank) and for the Barbados Crop Over Festival on the whole.
Written by: ncf_boss