If you have been anywhere in the Caribbean I’m sure you would have heard about one of their carnival festivals. Carnival in Trinidad is definitely one of the biggest ones in the Caribbean and is held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. That’s great but this post isn’t about Trinidad, the second most popular festival in the Caribbean is right here in Barbados. We don’t refer to it as carnival though, here the season is called Crop Over which starts in June and ends on the first Monday of August with a beautiful parade called Grand Kadooment. Interested? Well here is what you need to know
Pick a Band
This isn’t a music band or anything. This is where you get your costumes. Each “band” has a different theme with different colored costumes depicting that theme. If you are fussy about your costume then you need to pick yours out as early as April which is when the band start launching their themes for the year. If you don’t care what you get then you can wait a bit later. Once you have your costume sorted then you are ready for the road. Costume packages can come super basic from just a beaded bikini top, bikini bottom and waistband to a massive headpiece, wings, beaded bikini or monokini and feathered leg pieces. Some bands offer food for the day but all of them offer free drinks!
Tip: Get a super basic costume, at the end of the day they end up all sweaty and disgusting or you lose your feathers. If you want some feathers grab a collar as an add on to your basic package.
Book your party tickets
Whether you are spending two weeks before Kadooment or two months you will want to take part in a couple of parties beforehand. These parties give you a chance to hear all the new music for the year and see the performers. As the festival gets closer to Grand Kadooment the parties get crazier and there are so many things happening! All-Inclusive parties mean that everything is included even food and drinks may include champagne! Cooler parties on the other hand mean that you walk with your own cooler. Bring your own booze, ice, chasers and don’t forget the cups!
Tip: Make sure to pour all your alcohol into labelled plastic bottles. Trust me the last thing you want to do is mix your vodka with vodka… you’re welcome.
This is something you should book by early July depending on which band you want to play with. Foreday morning takes place on the Friday night/ Saturday morning before Grand Kadooment. The whole point of this party is to get dirty. Most bands give you a t-shirt to wear, grab an old pair of shorts and you are all set. This is like the warm up for Kadooment day. These bands start at around midnight and go along their routes until they end at around 7am ish. You follow a big truck down the road which has music and there is a drinks truck for all your booze needs. There is paint and mud that is thrown around all night, if you are clean you are doing it wrong!
Tip: Girls wear your hair in a bun or French braid, I’ve worn pigtails before as well. This makes it easier to get all the mud and paint out of your hair. Also rub your body with baby oil before you hit the road, this helps get the paint off the following morning… you’re welcome!
After Foreday morning, the stalls along Spring Garden Highway get busy with people. This is Bridgetown Market. This is really just another excuse to lime (hang out). The stalls have a variety of foods available so you can eat and drink your way down Spring Garden.
Tip: After you’ve recovered from Foreday morning come down in the afternoon, you can also have a swim in the sea after you’ve eaten.
The Sunday before is spent making sure you have all your essentials for the road, here are a few things you should have:
- Costume (duh!)
- Sneakers or Boots
- Make Up
- Face Gems
Kadooment morning make sure you get up early. We are usually up around 5am. Girls put that make up on along with your face gems to glam it up. Everything about today is over the top so rock that dramatic eye shadow! Meet your band at the designated location and on time! If you’re there early the bar is usually open! Once you’ve been through the stadium the parade starts going down the streets. The bands wind their way through Black Rock and down onto Spring Garden Highway. Today is when people let loose and enjoy the music, dance, drink and enjoy!
Tip: Girls, cut the toes off your stockings so you don’t lose your toenails… trust me!
Tip: Pace yourself with drinks when you are on the road for Grand Kadooment and drink plenty of water. The sun dehydrates you so quickly making the alcohol kick in faster. Trust me, pace yourself.