Whether it was the weather forecast for heavy showers or the sweltering heat, the customary large crowd of spectators along the Bank Hall route was absent at Grand Kadooment this year.
Compared to years gone by when parking and manoeuvring through thick crowds was an issue, this year onlookers were able to see the colourful bands passing along that portion of the route, with relative ease.
This reality especially impacted vendors, who told Barbados TODAY that sales, though steady, were nowhere near the previous years. Many were hopeful that as Barbadians realized that rain would not put a damper on this year’s Grand Kadooment, more people would come out, thereby increasing the prospects for greater sales.
However, the sun’s heat worked in their favour, as several vendors noted that while alcoholic beverages and food were not hot commodities, bottled water and snow cones were the order of the day.
“This is really dead today but I am hoping that now that the sun is out and the flood watch has been called off, more people will start to show up. Right now, the sun is hot and water selling plenty more than beers. This is the second year that I have been helping out my aunt and uncle with this bar but I have been coming here since I was a little boy and this is one of the smallest turnouts I have seen,” said Raymond Blackman, who was operating a bar close to the Bank Hall junction.
Onlooker Shane Seymour also said it was one of the lowest turnouts he has seen in a long time, but like Blackman, he blamed the rain forecast for persons opting to stay away.
“I don’t think people have lost interest; I think they just get confused by the weather. Normally it is a family thing, and nobody wants to bring their children to watch costumes if they think it’s going to rain and there is no real place to shelter,” he said.
On the bright side, those who braved the heat to watch the festivities were not subjected to many of the peeves of last year.
One of the sore points last year, was the length of time between bands. This was certainly not the case this year as the bands followed closely behind each other. The first band came down the Bank Hall stretch at approximately 10 a.m. and by 12 p.m., five bands had completed that segment of the jump.
With the exception of few low-energy revellers, most bands were full of verve at this point of the journey despite the humid conditions. (CM)