Barbados’ festival, better known as Crop Over, is a 3-month long celebration with musical competitions, flying fish, fetes, and pageantry. To experience the best Barbados has to offer, visit the island from July 31st to August 7, 2024
The Grand Kadooment Parade takes place on August 5, 2024
The Crop Over Festival dates back to the plantation era and was a big extravagant celebration organized on the plantations to mark the end of the harvest. During the 1940s, the celebrations dwindled after the Second World War, when the demand for sugar decreased and many plantations around the island closed. An effort was made to revive the celebrations in the 60’s but it wasn’t until the 70’s and 80s that a full revival was made and what we know as Crop Over was birthed.
Today, the festival is one of the most diverse in the world as it is a mixture of heritage, creative arts, fetes, bashment soca and masquerade. Many refer to this festival as Barbados’ carnival because it has many elements similar to a typical carnival
Barbados is accessible by air; the primary airport to fly into is the Grantley Adams International Airport (IATA code: BGI).
WHERE TO STAY
Most of the major Crop Over events happen near Bridgetown. Stay in the St. Lawrence Gap area for quick access to food and events. Taxis are abundant on the island, feel free to hire one as your personal driver during your stay.
- Blue Haven ($)
- Southern Palms Beach Club ($)
- Turtle Beach All Inclusive ($$)
- Bougainvillea Barbados $$
- Sandals All Inclusive – $$$
WHERE TO PARTY
What is a carnival without the events? Barbados offers many fete types for revelers. When I asked around these fetes came highly recommended:
- Events on a vessel: Oh Ship Cruise, Limerz Cruise, Nudes Tanlines or Escape Cooler Cruise
- Foreday Morning takes place on Crop Over Friday (August 2) and is held in the wee hours through a guided route in Bridgetown.
- All-Inclusive Events – Mimosa Breakfast Party or Bliss
- Live Performances – Tipsy Music Festival or Rise Barbados
- Other notable events mentioned – Fyah De Wuk, We Ting Bim, HYPD, Escape Beach Party
WHERE TO GET COSTUMES
Grand Kadooment is the climax of Crop Over and is held on the first Monday of August. Some refer to it as Mega Monday or Kadooment for short. To be part of a band you must register. (tip: register at least 2 – 3 months before Crop Over begins so you have optimal costume options).
Here are some bands to checkout:
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST
Carnival vacations are expensive. If you are based in the USA and own a smart phone, there are apps that allow you to save mindlessly. I use Qapital [use code xw2ds8bm to get $25 once you sign up] and the app rounds up my purchases and puts this extra change in my piggy bank.
For example if I spend $3.40, it will put 60 cents in my Qapital account. This really adds up! I bought a flight for $600 from this same piggy bank last year. I didn’t miss the money.
Here is a budget breakdown
- Flight: $500 – $1200 depending on location. (Flights from JFK can be really affordable if you get a Jetblue deal )
- Hotel: $300 + usd nightly
- Costumes: $400 + usd for backline, $600 + usd for frontline
- Fetes: Budget $105 + usd per event
TOURISTY THINGS TO CHECK OUT
While you’re there for Crop Over, make some time to see Barbados.
- Dover Beach
- Oinstins Fish Fry
- Rum Tastings / Tours at Mount Gay
- Bridgetown Market
If this is your first carnival experience, make sure to checkout this newbie guide.
Have more questions? Ask me in the comments below!