Reggae show still a big pull
FAS Entertainment says the nine-year old Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival is a crowd pleaser and people from as far as Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates have been showing interest.
Speaking Wednesday night at the official launch of the Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival at the 3Ws Stand of Kensington Oval, promoter Al Gilkes of FAS Entertainment said based ona report from a website, ITicket, that sells tickets to the show worldwide, the numbers were up 64% from 2011 to 2012.
“This show is a premier event in the Caribbean, bigger than the ones in Jamaica,” he said, adding that visitors from as far away as Brazil, New Zealand, Russia and other countries have visited the Facebook link to the events.
Noting that while patrons’ numbers have been up, and he hopes they increase for this year, another increase has been the cost of producing the show.
“ . . . It is a significant increase over the last five to six years and we have not been able to match that with the cost of admission.”
With corporate sponsors on board such as Digicel, Bryden Stokes, Starcom Network and others, he praised their contributions and said they helped “magnificently”.
“Some of costs have been cushioned by sponsors but even they have been asking us to take a few dollars less in recent years,” he said.
Citing increases in VAT and travel, Gilkes said it takes a lot of money to stage the four-day event which will be exciting nonetheless, based on the extensive lineup they have.
With media, members of the entertainment fraternity, sponsors and Government ministers Richard Sealy and Chris Sinckler present, Gilkes gave a brief history of the nine-year festival.
The festival runs April 21 to 28 and first out the blocks is the six-year-old Reggae Beach Party on April 21, with locals and acts out of Jamaica such as Bounty Killa, Aidonia and others. Up next is the very popular Vintage Reggae Show, and local boy Biggie Irie will be back again.
“The show was a huge success at the christened 3Ws Theatre at the Oval and it will be held there again this year on the Friday night, April 26.”
The Reggae Party Cruise on Saturday, April 27, will be a birthday bash in honour of Jamaican Tarrus Riley who will appear on the Hill the next day.
The showdown will be on April 28 at Farley Hill and Gilkes said the fans asked and he obliged by bringing Admiral Tibet off the vintage stage and to the big day. There will be no Bajan Night.
He said that while the show has contributed to the economic sectors of the island, many corporate entities enjoyed the benefits but never contributed to the show.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said, in his contribution to the launch, that the festival played an important role in the tourism sector in terms of numbers coming in just for the festival.