The show must go on
To the delight of many, after a one-day postponement, the Digicel Reggae On The Hill event took place yesterday at Farley Hill, St Peter.
An estimated 8 000 people withstood substantial rain to see artistes such as Gyptian, Junior Kelly, Queen Ifrica, Sizzla and Wyclef Jean perform on what was the final day of the week-long Digicel Reggae Festival
Late Sunday night, it was unclear whether the show would take place. Over the previous day an unexpected 40 millimetres of rain had drenched the island, resulting in a flood warning and leaving Farley Hill a sopping mess.
Promoters, FAS Entertainment, had announced that the show was therefore postponed to 10 a.m. on Monday – May Day – with the possibility of an indoor venue being used if necessary.
Still, many ticketholders, and no doubt the promoters themselves, feared the unfavourable weather conditions would continue.
On Monday morning, although ominous clouds floated high, the skies were dry enough that the gates were able to be opened. Ticketholders were encouraged to make their way to The Hill and, umbrellas in hand, they did.
Akera Browne, 21, of Codrington Hill, St Michael said she was there to see Gyptian. As far as she was, concerned nothing was going to stop her from making it to the show and she was certain most other ticketholders felt the same.
“People well spent money on their suits and hairdos – too much to let go to waste,” she said.
And much of Barbados was there to agree with her.
However, if Mother Nature could have her way once, she could have her way again.
By early afternoon rain, once again began to fall.
Fearing the worst, some in attendance began to leave. But for every one that left one hundred took their place. Farley Hill began to fill up.
As water dripped everywhere beside her, Peta Mayers, 25, of Bibby’s Lane, St Michael, said she was loving the show and was just glad it went ahead.
“Everybody was really looking forward to yesterday. Thank God for the rain. Last year we did complaining that there was no rain,” she said smiling as Queen Ifrica sang Lioness On The Rise.
A general mood of contentment could be seen and felt throughout The Hill.
A few minor disturbances occurred – one in which three police officers had to escort a man away and another where a man and woman exchanged blows. However, police reported that there wasn’t much more disruptive activity than that.
As the show continued Sizzla, brought love to the place with tunes such as Woman I need You and Give Me A Try. But, as unapologetic as ever, he also had “fyah for Babylon” and all that he deemed wicked with his wildly popular Hotter Fire. And he still Nah Apologize.
But the artiste of the day of the day was Wyclef Jean, who was as lively and interactive as they come. He sang an array of songs, some which he recorded solo, but many of which were popular collaborations with other successful artistes (9-1-1 with Mary J Blige, Your Love with Eve, Fu-Gee-La with ex-bandmates Pras & Lauryn Hill). However, he carried the tunes by himself and proved that he was a talent in his own right.
Other performers included Lisa Angel, Buggy Nhakente, Hotta Flames, Daniel, LRG, iNDRANI, Mark Cristal, High Grade, and Fully Loaded.
Ultimately, the dollars gained and lost by the promoters and vendors will play a large role in determining whether the show achieved its objectives.
However, although challenged with unforeseeable events, the show was able to go on and proved to be a definite crowd pleaser.
One only wonders what the indoor contingency plan entailed, as the Gymnasium with its seating capacity of 5 000 would never have been able to accommodate the large crowd. Fortunately, nobody had to find out.