Renowned as the “Sweetest Summer Festival” in the literal and figurative sense, Crop Over is a month long celebration of the sugar cane harvest which first originated during the plantation era.
As Barbados was once one of the biggest producers of sugar, the planters organised huge celebrations to mark another successful sugar cane season. Traditions included singing, dancing and eating rich cuisine and beverages.
Due to the severe effects of World War 2 the celebrations went into decline and eventually phased out. It wasn’t until a full revival in the early 70’s where celebrations became bigger and better to give us what we now know as Crop Over Today.
Although todays festival is a much more grand affair with multiple events displaying our vibrant culture, art, music and traditions the original sugarcane harvest message still remains. The festival officially commences on July 1st with the opening gala which consists of the ceremonial delivery of the last canes along with the crowning of the King and Queen of the festival - the most productive male and female cane cutters of the season.
During the month long Summer festival the island comes alive with a host of events, shows and parties for everyone to enjoy. Experience endless vibes with any of our recommended must do events below.
The Bridgetown Market takes over the Mighty Grynner highway to bring you a selection of handcrafted items. Barbados is blessed with an abundance of talented entrepreneurs and craftsman, this event is a celebration of such providing the perfect opportunity to purchase unique pieces showcasing the many talents.
Heritage/ Cultural Events
A concurrent theme throughout the crop over season is culture and one we are extremely proud of as it is what makes our island special. One of the highlights throughout the season is the event “Pandemonium”, an exciting evening for the entire family to enjoy and listen to the sounds of live steel pan performances along with tucking into great traditional Barbadian food.
The music of the season is the upbeat Soca genre which combines the Afro-Caribbean rhythm of traditional Calypso with music of India and Dancehall beats. There is a host of live performances from local and regional singers, party the night away at events such as Soca on the Hill, Tipsy and Pic-o-de-Crop Finals.
One of the stand out events on the calendar is the popular Foreday Morning Jam also known as Jouvert, the first event of the climax weekend and a must do for all. Held within the early hours of Saturday morning party goers parade the streets of Bridgetown dancing and drinking with paint foam and water. A truly unforgettable experience where sleep is the last thing on the agenda.
Grand Kadooment held on the first Monday in August is considered the “Mega Monday. It is the last event of the entire season and sees a host of masquerade bands follow a guided route that ends at the Mighty Grynner highway. Masqueraders are dressed in the most elaborate costumes adorned with colourful feathers, jewels and sequins as they follow the music trucks whilst dancing, drinking and eating. There are a host of masquerade bands that visitors and locals can be part of, all is required is registration and payment roughly 2-3 months in advance to secure your place. An entire day filled with endless fun and the best memories made.