About Betty West
At over 60 years young, Betty West is on top of the world. This striking 6ft mother of 3 and proud grandmother just loves her life.
A strong believer in God and a very positive person, Betty obviously has a passion for her life, her family and her work. Outside of the hectic Crop-over season, Betty keeps busy making bonnets for church events, designing costumes for various dance groups, and engaging in one of her favourite activities: training models.
In 1991 she was approached by Peter Coppin, who is now a radio personality and producer, and two others who wanted to do a Kadooment band. With no experience in this field they turned to Betty for assistance. Betty obliged, her first Kadooment Band was a success and after that she got the itch for it.
The first band… which was called The Arrival of the Mob featured a sailor section with the ship arriving, someone was actually dressed up like Al Capone (and Betty was his mistress) The concept was that you could come to Barbados, have fun, but if you break the law, you would be punished.
When Betty looked back on the day of the actual Kadooment and saw what she had created and the beauty of it she wanted to do more and that was the beginning...
Betty takes pride in the fact that her band house is sometimes used for education, for young people if they want to come in and see what's going on, well aware that she is not always going to be around but continuing the legacy.
As for the future, Betty is considering having a permanent bar / leisure area at her bandhouse for "older folks who want to come and relax".
Betty's love for what she does is evident in the quality of work she produces annually at Junior Kadooment and Grand Kadooment. She is the first to admit that it is very stressful, with many a sleepless night and hardly anything or time to eat. In addition she wants to make sure that each and every one of her revelers is happy.
But being the creative person is not enough for Betty who obviously likes to lead by example. She is also Queen of the Band and she is there with her band members jumping all the way with them from the Stadium to Spring Garden Highway, when they look tired she is there to encourage them to finish the job.
For over 15 years Betty West has participated in the Crop Over Festival with her Kadooment Band and has earned the reputation as one of the top Crop Over Band Costume designers in Barbados, by consistently winning top awards at the annual Grand Kadooment and the Kiddies Kadooment.
The Betty West Masquerade Band has established itself as a passionate tool of expression for culture and a forum to depict history and everyday affairs. Although committed to the festival and its origins, Betty as band leader, her professional team and the dedicated members have formed genuine relationships where everyone works and plays together. Betty's daughter Michelle and son Leo have also been a part of the band's success on carnival day.