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 Crop Over Barbados. Crop Over Barbados 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
Crop Over Barbados
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. Crop Over 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! Some of the Crop Over bands include Baje International, Blue Box Cart, Aura, Xhosa and Zulu International.
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 here before Crop Over Barbados 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 final weekend of Crop Over Barbados 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.
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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, which is the final weekend of Crop Over Barbados. 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, the finale of Crop Over Barbados, 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!
What time does Kadooment start? The earliest bands meet at the stadium for 7.30am and the parade starts going through the stadium about 8am. Other Crop Over bands start later so check the information you get with your costume to confirm your start time!
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.
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What a crazy wild time! Colorful and a once in a lifetime experience. It would be fun to see all the costumes!
Looks like a fun festival! It has it all: drinks, costumes, paint, music, what else could you ask for? The perfect recipe for a great party 🙂
You both look amazing! I love the confident of people in the Caribbean, there seems to be such a ‘everyone’s welcome here’ vibe! Great tips about the baby oil. My friend’s Trinidadian and she always goes home for carnival. The Crop Over sounds like so much fun, great photos!
Haha this seems so much fun. And wild of course. I love the Caribbean. Picking up costumes according to a theme should be such a fun thing to do. I’ve seen about this Crop Over on Chris Gayle’s Instagram. You might know who Gayle is.
Oh wow what a fun festival to attend! Great tips about the baby oil first to help get off the paint off! And yes good idea to keep costumes simple as it’s bound to be ruined by the end of the night. I’ve never been to anything like this but it looks heaps of fun!
Looks like you guys had a lot of fun! The picture with the paint is amazing! I never heard of Crop Over, but it sounds like a crazy and fun party!!
The paint party is definitely one of my favorites
Looks like so much fun! The tips are great! I have done a color run but nothing like this festival! I left a comment earlier this week but don’t know where it went!
I have never heard of the festival Crop Over in Barbados. Nor have a heard of a festival that lasts so long. It seems like a fun festival to participate in especially with the costume themes that you get to dress up in. Great tip on keeping your costume simple.
I would wear any costume if it involves free drink haha! The baby oil tip is very handy! Paint is normally a pain to get off!
Do you have to pick a band? Can you make your own costume?
Yes you have to pick a band in order to join the parade and get drinks from the trucks etc. If you make your own costume you wont be in a band, you can still go down the road and enjoy the music but you will have to buy drinks from street vendors and you will not be allowed in the band areas. If you need more information feel free to send us an email! 🙂