Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Demanding refund for Blue Mtn Festival flop

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM


This past weekend's (February 21-22) Blue Mountain Music Festival has been advertised as part of Reggae Month activities. Despite reports of late starts at last year's events, five of us were lured to Holywell on Saturday afternoon by the thought of reggae music amid the mountains.

The tickets were not cheap: J$3,500 per person pre-show; $4,000 at the gate - plus shuttle, if you didn't drive. Shuttles were between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The show was advertised to start at 4 p.m.

So we decided to drive and go hear some live music. Bad choice.

At Newcastle, we were told we had to park there and take a shuttle up. OK. We got to Holywell around 3:40 p.m., surprised at how quiet it all was. We hauled our fold-out chairs, etc., past lots of food stalls (the most activity) and joined the tens of others ranged on the natural amphitheatre looking down on the very quiet stage.

We checked - yes, the show was due to start at 4 p.m. We waited. Around 4:30 perhaps, people started moving up and down; around 6:30 perhaps, some stage lights came on. Still no word from anyone; and no identifiable person in control.

The sunset and the city sparkled behind the stage. Around 7:30, a man told us that the previous night's cold front had prevented them setting up then; and that they had to change the sound people, hence they were running a little late. He thanked us for our patience. Hmphh! He asked for another half-hour, and ignored a few calls for refunds.

Suffice it to say that the show started a little after 9 p.m. - when it should have been finishing! After two brief acts, there was a lengthy band change, and then the show started working its way through the programme. We gave up near midnight when exhaustion, cold, the thought of a long drive home, and a realisation that the headliner, Freddie McGregor, would be AT LEAST another hour (probably two) from taking the stage.

Did the musical love keep us all warm and humming amid the chilly hills? Not at all. My pocket was bawling - still is! I definitely think we deserve our money back!

The festival is a great idea, but its actualisation is no advertisement of our capacity to the several foreigners in attendance, nor any respect to ourselves.