Her band “Soca in de Mas” also copped Large Band of the Year – Heritage.

Kadooment winners pleased as punch

Kadooment winners pleased as punch

Her band “Soca in de Mas” also copped Large Band of the Year – Heritage.

Amid the dark clouds that almost threatened the appearance of Betty West’s participation in the Crop Over festival, the noted band leader defied many challenges to capture the coveted Robert Weekes Award and $20,000 for Best Festival Designer at Grand Kadooment 2023.

In fact, she recovered with an impressive haul for her band Soca in de Mas which paid tribute to some of Barbados’ great soca artists. Such as: Bajan Yankee Grynner, BootsGabby, Makelele – Alison Hinds, Prison BreakMr. Dale, Caribbean Unity Blood, Getting it GoodMikey and Iza Bajan Lil Rick.

Her prizes included $7,500 for Large Band of the Year Heritage; $3,000 for Best Presentation Heritage; the BMA Brands of Barbados Award – large band; and the Winston Jordan Award for Best Flag Person – Didi Winston. In addition, the veteran band leader also placed third in both the Best Individuals Males and Females (Heritage) categories which carried a prize amount of $2,500 each.

The 79-year-old designer, still basking in victory, detailed the many challenges which she encountered this season. From a lack of sponsorship, and a skeleton staff because she couldn’t afford to pay workers, to high import fees, and the delay in the arrival of materials.

West stressed that it looked like a real possibility if things didn’t turn around, she could have crashed out of the festival. And that’s why she expressed her gratitude to Neil Stanley and the many other loyal supporters who rallied around her.

“I humble myself to them. I didn’t do it alone. It was for the love of people who cared about me. People tapping my shoulder saying, ‘Betty, don’t worry’, when they catch me crying. They said, ‘we coming through’ and that was it . . . . I pray a lot and I ask God to send me the right people and then they were there for me til the end,” she said.

West, who turns 80 on November 24th, is already planning for Crop Over 2024, vowing that as, “as long as I’m healthy, I will be there.”

The septuagenarian declared: “I love it! I’ve been in the Arts for a long time because I’ve been a professional dancer, performing at Radio City for Barbados at Expo 1967. I think the beauty of it is when you look and see what you’ve created and brought alive. So, from now I will be out there trying to get sponsors for next year, but I will be back next year.”

To the contrary, Trevor Chase who copped $5,000 for <strong>Small Band of the Year – Heritage </strong>and also claimed the<strong> BMA Brands of Barbados Award </strong>– <strong>Small Band </strong>with his <strong>Vintage Ouutraje Collection</strong> said he will be bowing out of competition after 20 years.
To the contrary, Trevor Chase who copped $5,000 for Small Band of the Year – Heritage and also claimed the BMA Brands of Barbados Award Small Band with his Vintage Ouutraje Collection said he will be bowing out of competition after 20 years.

“To me I am pretty happy, I am signing off on a winning note, you always want to do that,” he said.

Chase explained that after two decades of Ouutraje and more than 35 years of masquerading, he believed that he has achieved all he can and at this juncture the strain of producing the band outweighed the appeal.

“What I would say is as you get older it gets more difficult to sustain that pressure. Hence, I believe that at some point in time instead of letting that knock you out, you should walk away. And that’s one of the reasons why I think it is time for me to go.

“Everything evolves and there is an evolution away from the type of mass I do so I am thinking the time has come for me to hang up my belt and allow the younger bandleaders to do their thing. Truth be told, I can still do the band, it’s not a problem but like everything else you have a reign . . . . My time has gone,” Chase added.

Other winners were: Kevin Small’s Fifth Element Mas’ which took home Best Individual (Males) Heritage and placed second for Best Flag Person – Justin Poleon; Hijack by band leader Jason Thompson placed first and second in the category of Best Individuals (Females) Heritage and second in the Males category; while Nandi Yarde of Avery Hackett’s Krave the Band placed third for the Best Flag Person award.

<strong>Kaleidoscope Dreams</strong> led by Bryan Worrell of Colorz Entertainment, scored the <strong>Large Band of the Year </strong>– <strong>Party</strong> and tied for <strong>Best Presentation </strong>–<strong> Party </strong>with <strong>Kontact Band</strong> led by Anthony Layne.
Kaleidoscope Dreams led by Bryan Worrell of Colorz Entertainment, scored the Large Band of the Year Party and tied for Best Presentation Party with Kontact Band led by Anthony Layne.

Worrell was especially thankful that almost a decade since transitioning from Foreday Mornin’ to Grand Kadooment, his hard work was bearing fruit. And was especially thankful to the revellers that supported him at all levels including during his debut at Junior Kadooment this year.

Worrell too expressed appreciation to his support system that included his wife Carolyn, daughters Akilah and Kadezja, along with Esterlene Benn, Jamar Julien, Allison Caddle, Bonita Phillips and Shakievah Caddle for the countless hours they committed to ensuring that the standard of production remained high and the band delivered.

This year prize for Best Band on the Road was not awarded since all the eligible bands were unable to face the judges due to a rerouting of some bands.

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