Sun | Feb 23, 2020

Audience makes clash decision - 20-year celebratory event separate from World Clash 2018

Published:Sunday | March 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Gilbert ‘Irish’ Murchison (left) and Garfield ‘Chin’ Bourne of Irish and Chin.
Ricky Trooper
Tony Matterhorn
Members of the Black Kat sound system, based in Christiana, Manchester, share in the excitement with fans and dancehall artiste Beenie Man (third right), after they won the Death Before Dishonour World Clash Jamaica contest, at the ninth staging of the event held at Pier One in Montego Bay on Monday, April 13, 2009.

There are many things about the World Clash event slated to take place on July 19 as part of Reggae Sumfest's 25th anniversary staging. For one, it is a 20th anniversary celebration of the sound system event brand - Garfield 'Chin' Bourne of promotional organisation Irish and Chin reminding The Sunday Gleaner, of the event's origins in New York in 1998 with Kilamanjaro (Jamaica), Sir Coxsone (England) and Downbeat (USA). So it is not World Clash 2018, that event slated for October in two-time defending champion King Turbo's home turf, Toronto, Canada.

Also, on the calendar, the upcoming summer staging is a far cry from the Easter Monday stagings of the clash's leg in Jamaica, that annual event ending in 2012. However, the venue, Pier 1 in Montego Bay, St James, is the same and Chin emphasises that the event will have the same format, including the audience being the sole decider of who wins the various rounds, up to and including 'tune fi tune'.

"We allow the paying public to decide who wins and we crown that winner," Chin said. "There is a host to keep the order, to create that understanding. The host's job is not to decide. His or her role is to see that it (the decision) is clear."

This is unlike other clash events, such as the Boom All Star Clash series, currently on each week along Olympic Way, St Andrew. The Guinness Sounds of Greatness battles resume later this year. Another similarity to World Clash in Jamaica of yore, is that the winner will not take home a cash prize.

"That does not fall in the World Clash format. World Clash has been held for 20 years without a cash prize, without judges."

The combatants are not strangers to the audiences which gathered at Pier 1 on Easter Monday for over a decade. Tony Matterhorn, Pink Panther, Ricky Trooper and Mighty Crown, will square off, Chin saying that they are all former World Clash champions, with Panther winning the most (including with Black Kat) and Ricky Trooper the first (as part of Kilamanjaro).




Describing Sumfest 2018 and the World Clash 20-year celebration being held together as "a major merging of two brands to give patrons a little more excitement", Chin positioned the World Clash celebration's inclusion in the summer festival, as giving audiences access to another part of Jamaican music culture. In terms of accustomed audience size, there is no doubting that Sumfest is larger, but Chin points out that at its peak pulling power while being staged annually at Pier 1, World Clash attracted close to 8,000 persons.

Chin does not have a target in mind by which to determine success or failure, but he said, "if we can still come back to Jamaica and celebrate with Sumfest and draw crowds and support where people go to an event that has not been in the island for a number of years, it would be good."

He has another number in mind, too, a single, clear winner.

"After 20 years, for a sound clash brand that has never seen a competition without a champion being crowned, why would you change it?" Chin asked.