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Tropical Storm Earl Ends Gosplash Prematurely

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Markland 'Action' Edwards
Carey Sayles
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Emancipation Day promised a slew of activities for many Jamaicans. Beaches are usually quilted with towels, sand in the air from frolicking children and a variety of ballers. Markland 'Action' Edwards of Action Entertainment had the same idea as collaborators with the Credit Union of Jamaica for this year's staging of Gosplash fun day and concert at Fort Clarence Beach.

The concert promised performances from well-loved Jamaican gospel artistes and generated interest through its international headliner, Deitrick Haddon. However, the threat of Tropical Storm Earl loomed over the day, whipping whirls of sand, buffeting children with heavy gusts of wind.

The organisers were unfettered. When The Gleaner asked earlier that afternoon prior to the start of the concert, if the inclement weather would affect the show, assurances were given that everything was going, and would continue to go, as planned.

The audience was similarly unfettered as they sang vigorously along with Apostle, and breaking into a medley of praise and worship choruses with Carey Sayles. Shirley Willis also took the stage and sent the audience reeling with a performance reminiscent of her glory days as a member of the famed Grace Thrillers.

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Preachers of LA star, Deitrick Haddon, was scheduled as the closer for the event, which seemed on track for a modest 10 p.m. cut-off time, until Edwards took to the stage at 7:40 p.m. with the dejected announcement that the show must come to an end.

In an advisory issued by the Ministry of Information, after a press conference earlier that afternoon, the decision was taken to postpone/cancel all mass gatherings in the wake of the then approaching Tropical Storm Earl.

While there were some yells of protest, sections of the crowd dispersed, making a slow trek to the parking lot. Some patrons lingered by the stage, unmoved in disappointment, and still in the hopes of a turn in the tide. And their prayers were briefly answered.

Prodigal Son took to the stage, delivering an impromptu a capella performance, soon fulfilled by the accompaniment of the resident DJs. His entrance was effective, reinvigorating the audience and their once-departing compatriots who now rushed back to the stage.

The artiste affectionately known as Proddy signalled the true end of the night, urging patrons to follow the rules and get home safely.

Music was provided by DJ Rebirth, DJ Marlon Young and DJ Sticko, while Nadine Blair of Love FM and Denise Hunt of Mello FM were the concert's emcees.

In his address to the crowd, Edwards implored that patrons would be treated to another staging of the event soon.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com