Every summer from June to August, the streets of Barbados come alive for a six-week-long celebration of colorful costumes, live calypso music and street dancing, a tradition 200 years in the making. Join in on the dusk to dawn celebrations, especially during the famous Grand Kadooment Day, when locals, visitors and celebrities, including Rihanna, take to the streets in glamorous, themed costumes for a parade celebrating all things Bajan. If you’re visiting Barbados during the summer months, be sure to add this epic festival to your plans.
What Is Crop Over?
Crop Over originally marked the end of a bountiful sugar cane harvest in Barbados. Dating back to the 1780s, when this small Caribbean island was the world’s largest producer of sugar, harvesters would spend the month of July celebrating in the streets with live music and spirits. Today, although the sugar industry has declined, this tradition lives on as a celebration of Bajan culture, still incorporating many of the sounds and rituals honored in the 18th century.
Where Does Crop Over 2018 Take Place?
For non-stop action, head to Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. This 400-year-old city is lined with historic buildings and features European architecture, aptly earning it its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Throughout Crop Over, street vendors line up serving local authentic eats and hand-crafted goods. On the final days leading up to Grand Kadooment Day, the Bridgetown Market in St. Michael opens. This sprawling street fair is one of the must-do events of Crop Over. Here, you can try different cuisines, shop arts and crafts, handmade jewelry, fine art and enjoy some of the most popular sounds of the island. During the grand finale, Grand Kadooment Day, parades march the streets of Bridgetown in a cloud of brightly colored feathers and calypso music, making their way to Spring Garden.
Events of Crop Over 2018
Crop Over has a back-to-back lineup of events, including music and dance competitions, Bridgetown Market, fetes (late-night parties with music, dancing, food and drinks), concerts and shows. The festival’s climax is Grand Kadooment Day which always falls on the first Monday of August. Events building up to this day like the Pic-O-De-Crop and Cohobblopot competitions are just a few of the highlights.
Bridgetown Market takes place in the days leading up to Grand Kadooment Day. The popular street fair is a favorite for visitors with local cuisine, street vendors and island music. Admission to this top-rated event is free.
Pic-O-De-Crop & Cohobblopot
There are two major shows or competitions during Crop Over. Pic-O-De-Crop is the finale of calypso competitions. Throughout Crop Over, musicians are organized into “tents,” and perform for titles throughout the six weeks. Pic-O-De-Crop is the grand finale competition, where musicians battle it out for the title of Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso Monarch.
Cohobblopot (meaning “a stew from a variety of ingredients”) is a similar competition and show. Here, you can expect calypso musicians, vivid and sexy costumes, food and dance performances.
Following the Pic-O-De-Crop calypso competition, Foreday Morning kicks off around 1:30 am and goes until sunrise. The equivalent to Trinidad’s J’Ouvert, this event is a wild party where revelers kick all inhibitions to the curve, covering themselves in mud, paint and cocoa, roaming the streets and gyrating their hips to live music, a movement known as “wukking up.”
The Big Finale: Grand Kadooment Day 2018
Grand Kadooment Day is the biggest event of Crop Over and a must-see experience for any visitors. Taking place on the first Monday in August, a parade of costumed marchers organized into “bands” take to the streets, dancing to booming calypso music. Expect bikinis adorned with feathers and crystals, live music and non-stop fun as “bands,” or groups of themed costumed celebrators, make their way through Bridgetown to Spring Garden, a huge park near Brandons Beach.
How to Participate in Grand Kadooment Day 2018
Both locals and visitors participate in Kadooment Day. For tourists to Barbados, it’s the ultimate experience, and, better yet, it’s easy to be a part of. Join a “band” – a group of people who all dress with the same theme to march and party together during the big parade. Bands participating in this year’s Kadooment Day include Aura experience, Baje International, Betty West Kadooment Band, Blue Box Cart Band, Colorz entertainment, Dusk til Dawn and Erupt the Band. Simply find the band you are interested in, register online and purchase a themed costume, and then meet up with your group at Crop Over.