From left: CEO of the NCF, Dr. Donna Hunte Cox; Chairperson, Monique Taitt (partially hidden, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Prime Minister Freundel Stuart; and Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, enjoying the cultural presentation at the Sponsors’ breakfast and launchat Hilton Barbados . (A. Miller/BGIS)

Some of the suggestions offered by the stakeholders of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) at its recent consultations have been included in this year’s Crop Over Calendar of Events, and more will be added in the future.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who said detailed reports of the discussions were being reviewed by his Ministry and the NCF, so more proposals could be incorporated later.

Mr. Lashley made the comments today at the Crop Over 2011 Sponsors’ Breakfast and Launch at Hilton Barbados. He described those discussions as cordial, frank and productive, and thanked the contributors for their valued input.

Proffering an example of the feedback the officials received and its implementation, the Minister noted that exponents of folk music implored the Foundation to increase their involvement in Crop Over, so they could assist in educating Barbadians about the history and culture of the festival and the island.

"Their advocacy for an expanded role for this indigenous form of Barbados music served to reinforce my own position, which is that traditional elements such as Gospel Music, Tuk Band, as well as indigenous local sports, must be given pride of place along with the more commercially driven events of the festival…

"There will be two major presentations of Folk, one at the refurbished Queen’s Park Steel Shed and the other at the traditional Crop Over Folk Concert which is held to commemorate the Riots of 1937. This year, the concert will be held at the Charles Fort, Hilton Barbados. The Gospel Concert will be heralded on the calendar with a triumphant return, also at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed," he stated.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that the youth would be involved in the planning and execution of the festival, disclosing that 300 young volunteers would be recruited from national youth groups and the National Youth Forum. "We would like to instill in them a spirit of volunteerism, of giving back to their community. We have a particular interest in increasing their involvement in the festival, since research has shown that cultural and artistic activities are two of the most powerful and effective tools in promoting social inclusion," he explained.

The Minister noted that there were several innovations to this year’s festival, including Youth Rallies; the night-time staging of the Party Monarch Competition, at Bushy Park; and the Bridgetown Alive Dooflicky, which will see the City being closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into a street fair.

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