Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Groovin' In The Park promoters promise no repeat of a premature ending

Published:Friday | June 22, 2018 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley
Romain Virgo
Busy Signal
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Last year saw a record number of attendees at Groovin' In The Park. The eight-year-old concert attracted more than 20,000 patrons and featured reggae musicians such as Freddie McGregor, Ken Boothe, Leroy Sibbles, U Roy with Lloyd Parks and We The People Band, singing sensation Tarrus Riley, Grammy award-winning R&B singer R. Kelly, and dancehall livewire Busy Signal.

Unfortunately, the Stay So deejay had his set cut short by about 30 minutes to the disappointment of the patrons. Chris Roberts, CEO and founder of Groovin' In The Park, told The Gleaner that every year, a new strategy is employed as a result of lessons learnt from each staging.

"The event will not have a repeat of last year's situation," said a confident Roberts. "Especially as we are expecting 2018 to be an even bigger year than ever, and this is never taken for granted."

The premature ending to Busy Signal's set last year has resulted in the team hiring a new stage manager to ensure correct timekeeping.

"This comes the same year that we have a written commitment from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation that the show will close at 9 p.m.,so some good did come from the unfortunate mishap," Roberts added.

This is an extension of a total of 90 minutes, which will, optimistically, be enough for this Sunday's entertainment package, which includes Romain Virgo, Marcia Aitken, JC Lodge, Pam Hall, Capleton, Damian Marley, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, and Busy Signal's 'unfinished business'.

 

Equally blended

 

Groovin' In The Park has a history of showcasing veteran reggae acts, but there has been a slight modification in the line-up to accommodate the requests of the equally blended audience of the young and the young at heart. The team has managed to book artistes whom the show's supporters have long awaited and love.

"While we will continue to utilise the tried and proven strategies, this year, we have enhanced and expanded our social-media strategy to appeal to the 18 to 35-year-old demographic. So far, we are extremely pleased with the results," he said.

According to the enthusiastic CEO, aside from Caribbean nationals, patrons come from the Tri-state Area, Atlanta, Florida, Virginia, Washington, Boston, California, Texas, North and South Carolina, Canada, and as far away as Europe.

For this reason, over the years, the concert added the fundamentals so that varied food, beverage, clothing and mementos from the Caribbean could be showcased. He said there is much to look forward to from the contributions from an assortment of vendors and community businesses that provide services from travel and banking to money transfer and healthcare.