Thu | Oct 29, 2020

Springfield welcomes the gift of Unruly Fest

Published:Friday | December 20, 2019 | 12:26 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Owners of the Rasta Family Links Ital Shop Itecoi Shaw (right) and Odea Chambers (centre) share a laugh with Devasko Lewis as they celebrate the coming of Popcaan’s Unruly Fest to the Goodyear Oval in Springfield, St Thomas.
Owners of the Rasta Family Links Ital Shop Itecoi Shaw (right) and Odea Chambers (centre) share a laugh with Devasko Lewis as they celebrate the coming of Popcaan’s Unruly Fest to the Goodyear Oval in Springfield, St Thomas.

Unruly Fest, like Christmas, will catch residents of Springfield, St Thomas, in a good mood when it rolls in to the Goodyear Oval for its ­second staging tomorrow. The event, which is the brainchild of popular dancehall artiste and son of the soil Popcaan, premiered last December at Lyssons Park in the parish. This year, it is being moved to the grounds of the old tyre factory, a larger venue, which residents believe is perfect for an event that promises to once again inject some life into the ­eastern parish’s ailing ­entertainment scene.

Odea Chambers, who operates a shop just yards from the venue, told The Gleaner that she expects a hike in support this weekend.

“Yeah man, we at the Shaw Family Links Ital Shop love it that Popcaan is coming here. Is a good look for the area. [Unruly Fest] will certainly help the community and its businesses this weekend because of the amount of people that we expect will come,” she said.

“Right now, we a prepare up wiself and a buy more things because we know how weekend aguh stay,” a hearty Chambers said, adding that the shop, which sells ital food and fruits like cane and jelly, will be open all night tomorrow.

Goodyear Oval once hosted the now-defunct East Fest, produced by native sons Morgan Heritage, and residents hope that Popcaan’s Unruly Fest will close that chasm left in St Thomas’ party landscape.

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

“We feel great because him bring light to a darkness in a community weh nothing nuh really gwaan … , even in the whole parish of St Thomas. From Morgan Heritage dem left, nobody nuh really do nothing towards St Thomas and entertainment here,” a hopeful resident said. “Popcaan come up, and him put on kids’ treat, and now him a put on show weh everyone a St Thomas can mek something off of. So mi feel great.”

There’s no mistaking the admiration for the dancehall artiste and self-proclaimed ‘Unruly Boss’, who has undertaken the charge to create industry in what is considered one of the island’s poorest parishes.

“It’s wonderful to know that someone from our soil has improved himself to come to this stage and bring it here, even on an international level,” Chambers said of the 31-year-old, who last year managed to secure top acts like Drake and Tory Lanez for the show, subtitled ‘Popcaan and Friends’.

The residents, though excited to soak up the performances of the impressive artistes listed – and yet to be announced – on the show, say they are lining up to see the man of the hour.

“Respect to Kalonji and the Fireman same time, enuh, but a the icon show, suh a the icon we a come fi see.”

And when Popcaan takes the stage tomorrow night (or Sunday morning), it will be in a venue that Springfield ­residents believe to be unrivalled in the parish.

“Is the best venue in St Thomas right now and ever since. It’s the biggest, it’s open, and yu can’t miss it. It’s right along the roadway, so no matter how far you coming from or how yuh nuh used to the place …, yuh must find it.

“It nuh round nuh dark corner weh people affi a instruct yuh fi guh round suh or dung suh. It’s big and secure. It’s good, man,” said one resident.

“Right now, I’m one of the behind-the-scenes people who help make sure the grounds ready for the night, security set, and so forth. So far, everything has been going great and running smooth sailing,” said Devasko Lewis, who shared that he is a member of the planning committee for the highly anticipated event.