By Ryan Gilkes | Tue, April 24, 2012 - 12:05 AM
The organizer of the 2012 Digicel Reggae Beach Party at Brandons Beach, the first of four events in the Barbados Reggae Festival, deemed it a success, despite some logistical challenges.
Director of FAS Entertainment, Al Gilkes, told the DAILY NATION the show flowed as planned with no interruptions from technical hitches or bad behaviour; apart from getting the crowd, estimated at over 6 500 patrons, into the venue.
“For every two tickets we would’ve sold in advance, apparently three people turned up at the gate to buy tickets. This resulted in us being overwhelmed by the crush on the gate. Normally, if you sell two tickets ahead of an event, you can expect that at the gate you would sell ‘a half’ a ticket,” Gilkes said, praising the police and security personnel whom he noted were able to control the surge and avoid what “could have been a very sensitive situation”.
As for those patrons who would not have been able to get in, the promoter noted that those numbers were few.
“So far to date we [FAS] have only had calls from two people, one who had three general tickets and another who had one VIP ticket and weren’t able to get in. We have spoken to them and they have agreed to accept tickets for any of the three remaining events which come off later this week,” Gilkes explained.
Meantime, disaster management specialist Roy Ward has suggested that next year’s Digicel Reggae Beach Party be shifted from Brandons Beach to accommodate the massive crowds that flocked to the event.
“The event has outgrown the venue. When it was first conceptualized, the location was perfect based on the projected mass of people. It has now become so successful as far as public attendance is concerned that Brandons can no longer accommodate the numbers attending,” he told the DAILY NATION.
Moving forward, the disaster management specialist has suggested one possible venue which promoters could look at, namely, Bath in St John.
“You can put the stage on the parking lot, and then you have the spill-off space for the crowd to move back onto the beach, adequate parking for the emergency and other support services.
“But this will have to be evaluated based on what the promoters want to achieve. But one thing is for sure that there is a definite need to look at alternatives,” he said.
Gilkes, while not ruling out the possibility of a venue shift, noted that the challenge on the night came in moving crowds from the entrance of the venue, after they entered the event.
“The venue accommodated the crowd, but the problem came where persons preferred to congregate [by] the stage and by the entrance, despite repeated calls from the MC to move further inward so the other patrons who were now coming into the venue could get in. The stage was a bit closer, probably too close to the entrance maybe . . . ,” he said last night, ahead of a post-mortem meeting into the event which came off on Sunday.
With regards to suggestions that the venue be shifted, Gilkes said it was still too early to make such a determination on the event now in its fifth year, noting however, that they were always looking for larger, central venues.
“Remember, we would have held the first event at the Boatyard, then the next year shifted to the Drill Hall and then Carlisle Bay Centre, and for the last two years, Brandons, in an effort to accommodate the ever-growing crowd. We will be looking around, but the problem comes in trying to find a central location that can accommodate those persons who might not have access to transport,” Gilkes explained.
Police reported an incident-free night and commended patrons on their behaviour, noting that they hoped it would continue for the remaining events.
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