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CULTURE CLINIC: No CROP OVER and NIFCA?

Seriously???

At first glance, the reason for cancelling Crop Over and the National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts (NIFCA) in Barbados for 2020 seemed measured. COVID is in the air… literally. Still, I wonder if we have thoroughly considered how to repackage some of these events mindful of the guidelines of hygiene, social distancing and risk of infection (among others) that have been set.

Image from rihanna-fenty.com

Archiving and collecting our creations at this moment is crucial. NIFCA nurtures our spirit of community and national identity. Crop Over acknowledges our Emancipation, educates us and our audiences about Harvest Home and this modern reinvention, and celebrates what it means to be Barbadian. Hence, can we have an integrated inclusive discussion about this? Is our creative economy reduced to party culture or physical “bums-in-seats”?

Can our creative expression and identity survive beyond merely providing revenue for service providers: catering, transportation, production, venue owners etc.? How do we enable and respect our creatives in this difficult time?

Photo from NIFCA 2017. Loop Barbados

Especially now, outlets for creativity and resilience are useful as Barbadians adapt and redefine themselves. Several of us creatives are embracing the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines as we work in this temporary, unstable environment. Indeed, creating in this time/space can make us become fitter and stronger for all time. Our plethora of creative images, platforms and videos on social media reinforces this notion.

Faith’s Soca Lockdown series on IG live

While our festivals may become healthier, innovative, smaller and less expensive in this next period, rethinking of what a CROP OVER CORRECT 2020 (the online edition) and NIFCA Programme could look like may still deserve cooperative discussion.

Here are some initial thoughts:

Crop Over Correct 2020

Thanksgiving Service – Online or rebroadcast footage from previous events.

Cavalcade All Stars – the best of Calvacades from the past or replay past years.

Crop Over in the City – footage from previous years.

Heritage Tours – recap, review, introduce a virtual tour.

The Best of the Gospel Concert series.

Junior Calypso Monarch Online – online submissions, tracks, recordings, judging, broadcast.

Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes – review of last year’s event.

Visual Arts Online Festival and Virtual Tour.

Craft Works Online.                 

Read-IN! Online – repeat broadcasts.

Soca Royale Online – online submissions, online tracks, online recording, online judging, online broadcast.

Pan Fusion, Speighstown Sizzlin’, Pan Pun De Sand – rebroadcast from 2019.

Pic-O-De-Crop Online.

Evening of Folk – rebroadcast events from previous years.

Emancipation Day Online.

Bridgetown Market Virtual Tour– broadcast highlights from previous years.

Foreday Morning ZOOM – online parties. Bands can engage in online activities to keep their members engaged.

The Best of Grand Kadooment.

Awards Ceremony Online

NIFCA 2020

Performing Arts Online: Individuals offer online submissions, either for direct adjudication or for comment and resubmission.

Culinary Arts: follow COVID guidelines, a virtual tour of the products and winners can be set up.

Visual Arts and Photography Virtual Exhibition.

Literary Arts Gala – edited and broadcasted.

Film Screenings.

Certainly, these innovations may form part for our future post-COVID reality, our new normal.

Dr. John Hunte PHD
Cultural Studies
UWI Cave Hill

Culture Clinic is a weekly column crafted by Dr. John Hunte. Photography by Adrian Richards.

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  • Thank you Dr. Hunte for this. I agree with your suggestion, at least trying to create an online platform for artists to still do what they enjoy and spread the love of arts and culture. For some, these cultural festivities are their bread and butter at least for this period of time and to completely cancel is heart breaking. Meanwhile, we can still get the schools up online and give the children some sort of normalcy of being able to see their friends, their teachers and keep their minds busy. So why not Crop Over or NIFCA??? Artists are finding ways through their own online platforms, online gathering and are having a fun time sharing their creative products. I think there is a way and could be a potential way of arts to make some money especially during this pandemic.

    • No doubt that the online platform is a potential income earner. Creatives and organizations like the NCF need to lobby with the platforms to share in the benefits of “free content”. “Free” has come to mean creatives must volunteer. This notion needs to shift to fall in line with all the development, emotional, and spiritual benefits that creative products and services can offer.

  • i believe this is an opportune time for a restructuring of Crop Over and NIFCA. We have the human resources to achieve this and implement a more comprehensive and creative expression of our communities and art forms

    • Agreed, Ms. Waithe. We do. Lets hope there is a collective, cooperative transparent effort as we retool and restructure to come out of this moment fitter, stronger and together.

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