Startime makes Clarendon Connection on a complaint
Michael Barnett, who along with Charles Simms is organising the Saturday, July 2, staging of Startime at the Juici Patties Verandah, Clarendon, got an overwhelmingly positive response when he first posted the concert's line-up online.
But it was the one complaint which led to the addition of a critical component to the event, the Clarendon Connection which features Freddie McGregor, The Clarendonians and Derrick Morgan, who are all from the parish.
When the line-up was first posted on Startime's Facebook page the roster of performers was the same as a very successful concert in January at the Mas Camp, National Stadium. With all the enthusiasm it generated, Barnett said "one lady posted and said 'I am so disappointed, I thought there would be some new artistes'."
"That one comment stayed with me," Barnett said. As it gnawed at his mind, he thought of a Clarendon Connection because there are so many standout artistes from the parish, among them Millie Small and Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert. "I discussed it with Charles Simms and we fleshed it out," Barnett said.
There is depth to choose from and Barrington Levy and Cocoa Tea, both Clarendonians, were approached but were unavailable. Bass guitarist and band leader Lloyd Parkes suggested McGregor, whose inclusion proves a particularly good fit as his new album is named True to My Roots.
The Mas Camp line-up, which is being transplanted to Clarendon, is Marcia Griffiths, Frankie Paul, Errol Dunkley, Leroy Sibbles, Horace Andy, Johnny Clarke, DJ Dillinger and Mighty Diamonds, all supported by Lloyd Parkes and We The People Band.
Startime has been to Clarendon before, Barnett recalling a 2000 staging at which Alton Ellis, John Holt, Marcia Griffiths and Ken Boothe performed. And there was a time when the Startime staging in Kingston would be repeated across the country. From this experience, Barnett is confident of the brand's strength outside Kingston and he recalls especially one concert at the Alpart Sports Club I St Elizabeth.
"There was torrential rain. We had a Coaster bus we were using to sell tickets parked at the entrance. The show was to start 9 p.m. and we were in the bus at 7 p.m., planning to cancel the show," he said. However, people kept coming by to purchase tickets, equipped for the weather with umbrellas and raincoats. Eventually, Barnett said, "we got 1,500 to 1,800 people in the rain."
Barnett credits Tony Cha for making the connection with the Chin family of Juici Patties, members of which attended January's Kingston show and were so satisfied that they said the Clarendon event could be announced that night. And, ahead of next week Saturday's Startime concert, Barnett is already looking ahead to January 2017 for a concert in the series at Mas Camp.