Crop over Ire

Sponsorship challenges are contributing to high costume prices for revellers, bemoans president of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM) Jason Thompson.

He is therefore calling on corporate Barbados to do more to support the Crop Over Festival and to help ease the squeeze.

“There are a set of industries that benefit tremendously from the Crop Over season – airlines, drink companies, hotels, vehicle services, restaurants, clothing stores, shoe stores, cosmetic stores, wholesalers, food suppliers. Yet, how many of them invest in the successful execution of the festival?

“Gone are the days when bands are heavily supported and sponsored by the private sector. Sponsorship has become little to none, and in many cases, companies are asking bandleaders to be sponsored on a commission basis like a sales rep. These same companies are the ones who are meeting their annual targets as a result of the same festival. The lack of respect towards bands and promoters must stop,” Thompson said.

He charged that some businesses were very unprofessional in their dealings.

“Many of these companies do not even respond to emails, messages or calls relating to sponsorship. Some bandleaders and promoters are just left on pause, as these companies assume one must still purchase their product regardless.

“When the time comes and bandleaders and promoters start sourcing most of their amenities from overseas, it’s then that local businesses will wake up and realise that they have a part to play in the success of the executions,” the BAM leader said.

“The lack of sponsorship impacts the prices of costumes and events, as there’s no input assistance going into the event. All of the costs must then be passed on to the masquerader or partygoer. This lacklustre, self-engulfed attitude that is currently being transcended among local businesses needs to stop if we wish to return to the Sweetest Summer Festival

where locals can feel a part of it, and be able to afford it,” he added.

When contacted, president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry James Clarke said he was unable to comment on the specific claims, but stressed that sponsorship was up to the individual company.

“With anything like this, it is generally on a case-by-case basis with individual companies. It depends on what kind of company. Sometimes companies do it as part of their employee outreach or some do it because they have a specific product that is associated with an event like Crop Over that they wish to highlight,” he said.

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