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BARBADOS - music

A nation of shows

Web Posted - Fri May 14 2004
By David Hinkson

LAST Crop Over season Ian Webster asked the question whether Barbados was becoming “a nation of shows” based on the high number of shows that took place between 2002 and 2003. Given the packed entertainment calendar this year, particularly over the past few weeks, it would seem as though the answer to his question is a resounding “yes.”

For example, since the end of March, there was Vintage Reggae, Spektakula, Buju and Beenie Man, Share the Shelter, the three shows associated with Congaline, Spring Jazz, Beres and Barrington Levy, the cricket carnivals and beauty shows. For the most part these shows were of a high quality (which was not always the case in the past) and most of the patrons walked away satisfied that they got a good night’s entertainment. There was also considerable variety in the types of shows that were held, covering a wide range of disciplines and catering to several different audiences. As one of my colleagues pointed out recently, it becomes a major challenge for everyone involved and I am wondering whether it is entirely necessary. It is a small market, venues are limited and all the promoters are competing for the same consumers. Richard Stoute tried to get around it by ensuring he did not schedule the finals of his Over-21 contest to coincide with any of the major shows taking place, but it is not always easy for promoters to reschedule their events or change the venues.

Some time ago dramatist Cynthia Wilson said that in the days when plays were staged more frequently in Barbados, the National Cultural Foundation used to meet with the producers and they would work out when the shows would be held based on the availability of venues. It may be useful to resume this practice, especially with the extremely high number of shows we are having these days.

I am also concerned about the nature of some of the events, particularly the high number of fetes and cruises advertised every day on the leading radio station geared towards children of secondary school age and those at tertiary level institutions. In fact, the abundance of fetes with this audience in mind makes me wonder how serious we are about education in Barbados and I am surprised that no one in the education sector has spoken out against it. We seem to be creating the mindset within young people that “life is a party”, and we have even gone to the level of having an “end of term fete” and an “end of vacation fete”. To get more young people into these events, the advertisements speak of free admission or ridiculously low prices before a given time, but in some instances the gates do not open before that time and the patrons have to pay full price.

Also, some fetes promise two free cases of a well-known alcoholic beverage for the “largest crew”, essentially promoting high alcohol consumption and all the negatives that go with it. And I am still disappointed that none of the women’s organisations has said anything about the “Bikini Cruises” and “Dance Hall Queen” competitions where young women can win cash prizes for wearing the skimpiest outfits and in the latter, wearing the skimpy outfits and behaving in the most vulgar manner. Lest I sound like an “old prude”, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun every now and again, but we need to remember that “all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy”.



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We still have the same names, different shows dilemma Yes, we have had a high number of shows over the past few weeks, but once again, as Richard Stoute lamented, the majority of them have relied on the same performers. With new artists coming out of the just completed Over-21 contest, Teen Talent and the Superstar Search, shouldn’t some of these people be getting more exposure? At least two promoters have made an effort in this regard, for example Desmond Weekes with his Mothers Day concert and Sam Layne in his pre-fight entertainment package at Shaka Henry’s last boxing match.

I remember when I attended the launch of Ricky Aimey’s “Make Your Move” CD in January, members of the audience were urging his Plantation Band colleague and leading singer Tamara Marshall to ‘make her move’ and produce a CD as well. I would also like to see an album by Third Stone and Melody Man, and I hope these artists follow the lead of Jermaine Forrester and Toni Norville and work hard on promoting it all over the region and further afield, including in previously uncharted markets such as Africa.

Compliments of the Barbados Advocate


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