BBC Caribbean
31 July, 2004

Tourists flock to 'low-key' Crop Over

While this year's Crop Over celebrations in Barbados have been described by many as low-keyed, tourism officials have said figures for this season are 'brilliant'.

Airlines flying into Barbados have reported that in the last few weeks, their flights have been practically full.

The Barbados Nation newspaper quoted officials from Virgin Atlantic which has six flights into the island every week, as saying that an average of 425 seats of the 439 seats available on their Boeing 747s have been booked.

An Air Jamaica official told the newspaper that daily flights into Barbados have been pretty full this season, and most of their passengers were flying in from New York.

Caribbean Star said regional traffic to Barbados had been "quite impressive" and it was anticipated that booking levels for this summer would surpass last year's.

However, attendance at Friday night's Calypso Monarch competition which was won by David 'Kid Site' Piggott, was said to have been the worst in the competition's history.

The lack of interest has been attributed to the controversy which arose early in the season when calypsonians threatened not to release new music because of the government's failure to implement legislation to deal with music piracy.

Poor calypsoes

Barbadian journalist David Hinkson told BBC Caribbean Radio while he believes the controversy turned off many people, he felt the poor quality of this year's calypsoes was a bigger factor.

"A lot of the big names decided they weren't releasing their music at one stage and a lot of newcomers have brought their music out and it wasn't very encouraging and when the more established their music, it wasn't very special either," he said.

He lamented the absence of social commentary, as he felt there were many issues facing society that are ideal topics for serious calypsonians to write about.

"Social commentary in the last couple of years seems to have died off and I expected this year that we would have a lot of songs about the fishing dispute between Barbados and Trinidad among other things and that has not happened really," he said.

"There have been a lot of cursory references to particular issues in the society, but nobody has taken any one issue and looked at it seriously, nobody does that any more."

He also criticised the soca artistes who he criticised as being 'boring'.

"We've created a lot of soca idols in the last ten years, but what has happened is they repeat the same formula all the time and that gets a little tiring," he said. "How long can we sing jump and wave?"

"I think that's one of the problems that we've had in terms of the quality of the music. It has not developed and people have become very lazy."

Crop Over comes to a climax on Monday with the Grand Kadooment, a street parade which starts at the National Stadium and ends at Spring Garden.