BOOM renews sponsorship - Taylor implements personal rules for Extravaganza
The GT Taylor Extravaganza has again attracted title sponsorship from BOOM. However, even as the Wisynco-produced Jamaican energy drink brand makes it three in a row, partnering with the Christmas Day event in Black River, St Elizabeth, organiser GT Taylor is ruing lack of corporate support.
"I could still do with more. There is nowhere, in that side of Jamaica, bringing in a captive audience of 10,000, 15,000 people, that a company can benefit, have their product properly networked or promoted. It is a hand-in-hand thing. The show pushes your product, or your product is being sold, and you also support. So it is a 50/50. I assure that Extravaganza is an event now that any company comes on board would be feeling proud, because we keep it as a professional event, incident- free, for 15 years. It is not easy to do that," Taylor said.
"It is not easy to maintain. You've got be doing something serious," he emphasised.
"We are always serious about security, very serious about that, and maintaining the rules about performance, and with entertainers. We maintain the rules of being on time and orderly conduct for the stage," Taylor said.
"Extravaganza has to maintain the name Extravaganza. It started with a whole heap of artistes," he added, and they all have to perform, the rehearsal process key to sticking to schedule.
Being orderly is not only a matter of time, but also content.
"We try to tell these artistes that, look, we are in the business of entertaining, we have to entertain everybody. Persons that's coming in, they are paying their money, we don't try to segregate on certain level," Taylor said.
He added, "I don't want to censor them on their artistic ability, or how they want to deliver. But I ask them to try and tone down," Taylor said. This is partly attributable to the fact that it is a Christmas Day show and, while it is not an event for children, there are those people who will bring in young ones.
"It's a show that we maintain as a standard, a clean Christmas event," Taylor said.
After last year's staging, The Gleaner reported that popular performer Sizzla, had an issue with a sign on the stage that read, 'No bad words and offensive language towards anyone or groups with unpopular lifestyle'.
The Gleaner reported: "So wah dem a seh?
No bad words? Oooohhh?" said Sizzla, as he picked up one of the signs and examined it closely. "No offensive language against certain groups? A wha dis? Mi nuh inna dis. I want to warn all promoters against de sponsors dem who want dem fe go easy on certain groups ... but me nuh inna it with dem," said Sizzla, seemingly striving hard to control his rage.
It is a sign that Taylor said is always on stage at Extravaganza, not only last year. "I am showing the standard is what I am saying," Taylor said. "That's all my sign is saying."
The Sunday Gleaner, asked Taylor if it was his rule or one instituted by sponsors, as Sizzla seemed to assume.
"That is my rule," Taylor said emphatically. "That's my rule. I am saying that our music must be presented on a professional and a distinguished level. We cannot present our music on a derogatory level, and I think that is one of the good things that's holding Extravaganza."
"I am in for discipline. And if you are going to present the reggae music, this music that I love, that is one of the things why I stick with this show, because I want to help keep this culture alive. And we cannot be spreading the culture, and we are going to do it in derogatory fashion," Taylor insisted. "We must not disrespect our women, and we must not disrespect people. So I put my sign up there, and it has been up for 'quite a good number of years', and that is something that is in my contract with the artistes."
However, while there have been breaches "you overlook it and, you know, a warning", Taylor said. He also pointed out that because he also works in media, there is a certain level of respect, his stance in the music business is well known and he will not book artistes or play their music on-air if their lyrics are unacceptable. "Anything I am doing in the business must be done with dignity and respect," Taylor said.
After commenting on the sign (which had a little red, green and gold) Sizzla put it back down.
"Sizzla is Sizzla," GT Taylor said, laughing, noting that he had spoken to him before the show and "he promised to not do anything where that is concerned".
"He did not use any derogatory words. He was just protesting about the sign," Taylor said. "Maybe he felt the sign was too bold. But that's it. You are going to see that sign there on Extravaganza. That is one of the things that's keeping it as a good event, a well-produced and delivered event."
"If I got the sponsorship, my production would be first world," Taylor said. "But we don't have the sponsorship, but I still do my best."