BARBADOS: A new way to party . . . Park Up and Fete

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(Barbados Today) – Summer 2020 is quickly winding down; the first in recent years with no official Crop Over due to the ongoing pandemic. And yet, promoters have been exploring all available avenues to fill the void by hosting summer parties in a safe environment.

Enter Vida by Esquire, an amalgamation of premium carnival costume section owners and party promoters, who teamed up to produce an exciting new social distancing fete concept – Park Out, which will be held at the Globe Drive-In on Monday, August 3.

Barbados TODAY met with two of the directors, Ryan Forde and Corin Bailey, who explained the concept.

“We didn’t want to let COVID-19 destroy people’s enjoyment completely. So as soon as the Government indicated that certain numbers would be allowed to events and relaxed some of the regulations, we started putting our minds together to think how is it that we can provide an event where people can come and enjoy themselves while still giving them an opportunity to socially distance as much as possible,” Bailey explained.

Park Out was originally meant to be hosted on a much larger scale, and Vida by Esquire was one of the first Crop Over bands to launch this year, but the arrival of COVID-19 put a spoke in their wheels. However, the group hopes that by 2021, there would be a wider semblance of normalcy so that they could proceed with events without a restriction in numbers.

Forde envisaged a totally transformed Drive-In, where there will be visuals promoting the sponsors, artistes, Esquire Entertainment parties, Vida sections, and a bit of a teaser of who will be involved in the event in the years to come.

When asked about the required health protocols, he revealed that his team had met with authorities to get the necessary permission and directions. Masks are therefore mandatory upon entry, and patrons will be asked to wear masks when not in their “bubble”. All staff will also be required to mask-up.

“They’ve [health officials] advised us, prior to persons coming, you take the information, get their [temperature] checks, you have sanitization stations all around the layout of the event. The other good thing, because we want to add the Crop Over experience, is you have runners, cocktail persons… you don’t need to go anywhere.”

Bailey added that the event is designed to have people interact with as little or as many others as they want.

“We’re not forcing anything on anyone. We’re going to have people that feel comfortable enough to go up by the music truck and interact with others. If you want to stay inside your car for the entire party, you can. If you want to stay around it, you can. For those that park up outside, the venue is big enough that you can pick up a spot and stay away from other people.”

DJs for the event include Jagwa De ChampSalt and DonHutchy and Sizz. Popular artistes Stiffy and Leadpipe are also in the lineup.

As the promoters embark on navigating the “new normal” of partying and entertainment, they are also urging patrons to be patient and understanding.

“The good thing is that you know the reason you’re being patient at these events now… the safety aspect. So, security [will be] taking your information; don’t get frustrated with the security person, because they have to do it, once they do it in a professional manner. If you have to wait for the drink runner to come back with your drink order, just understand that you didn’t have to walk to get a drink,” Forde said.

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