Just two days ago we said that we couldn’t “see how bandleaders will take this quietly” in response to the NCF’s rules restricting the scope of what Foreday Morning bands can offer.
And we were right.
Barbados’ largest Foreday Morning Band Island Fusion (and as we’ve pointed out before, Barbados’ largest Crop-Over band full stop), has come out hard against the new regulations in a stinging note posted to their Facebook page.
The ladies of Island Fusion said the new rules “go far beyond what is necessary to regulate costumes and simply eradicates them” from Foreday Morning.
They also ‘tek in front before in front tek them” (to use the Trini lingo ironically enough) by blasting the proposed regulations that were apparently circulated earlier on Friday before the official letter from the NCF. Those proposals which apparently came out of a meeting of Foreday Morning stakeholders suggested banning bikini tops, bikini bottoms, swimsuits (whole piece or two piece) and bottoms that are cut in a high waist bikini or swimsuit style and costumes that are shiny, glittery or reflective.
Island Fusion called these proposals “wholly unreasonable”.
Most significantly, they blasted the NCF for making exceptions to these rules for costumes for “traditional characters” because, let’s be honest there are no ‘traditional’ Foreday characters since the Foreday Morning Jam is only 19 years old.
So what are we talking about? Jab jabs? Dames Lorraines? I.e. traditional Trinidadian j’ouvert characters? What exactly constitutes tradition in a festival barely as old as a first-time voter?
Island Fusion rightly called BS on this, saying:
Island Fusion is of the view that evolution and creativity IS culture and is particularly concerned that the new regulations do not apply to depictions of what has been described by the NCF as “Traditional Characters”. In the band’s view this makes our point about Foreday evolving into something uniquely Barbadian even more important because this exception for “Traditional Characters” permits bands to pay homage to foreign culture while effectively preventing the development of a local identity to the night celebration.
The lengthy letter finished off with a stern rebuke, calling the rules “a backward step, from both an economic and cultural perspective.”
“It constitutes another clear example of resistance to change, innovation and creativity just because it is possible to do so. It is at cross-purposes with the entrepreneurial spirit and cultural pride advocated for in many quarters and for these reasons Island Fusion cannot support it.”
We agree with everything they’ve said and we can’t help wondering – why try to stifle the fastest growing event of Crop-Over, especially in its 40th anniversary year which should really be a grander celebration than ever?
We’ve heard word that there are over 60 bands registered for the Foreday Morning Jam. That would be significantly more than the 41 registered last year and would represent a 12-fold increase from the 5 registered just five years ago in 2009.
The police force has become increasingly uncomfortable with the logistics of managing Foreday Morning’s security and made it clear last year when the head of the special security unit set up for Crop-Over called for the celebration to be moved to its own day.
If these regulations stick and bandleaders comply, it is reasonable to expect that the numbers for Foreday will shrivel significantly. The people who flocked to it for the glitz and shiny, reflective material will simply go elsewhere. They ent there for no t-shirt and paint jump up.
Which would of course make the management of it easier again from a security perspective and probably a cost perspective.
Interestingly enough, in Barbados’ last budget, overtime allowances for police officers were cut.
Which means for events like Foreday Morning where the police almost inevitably have to call out officers on overtime, they will no longer get paid for this.
Which could make officers grumpy especially since manning an event like Foreday with its tens of thousands of revellers in the dark, is no easy task.
Hm. Ponder that and in the meantime, take a look at the full letter from Island Fusion below.