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Kingston Live - Via Go-Jamaica's Web Cam atop the Gleaner Building, Down Town, Kingston

Chante Moore, Eric Benet pull out of Ja Festival 2K

Janet Silvera, Freelance Writer


THERE ARE glitches in the 'Jamaica Festival 2K - Howard Hewitt and Friends Show' with two of the major international acts pulling out at the last minute. Rhythm and Blues performer Chante Moore and the phenomenal jazz musician Eric Benet, who were billed to perform tonight at Renaissance Jamaica Grande, Ocho Rios, with Howard Hewitt have pulled out.

Showbiz received a letter from American R&B performer Chante Moore, addressed to her Jamaican fans. She said she was upset and disappointed with the promoters, Glenn Harris and Alan Sorter, of Freedom AGJ, of the event.

She continued: "This letter is to inform you that due to the incompetence of the Jamaica promoters, I will be unable to perform for you this weekend.

"I am very upset and disappointed that regardless of my efforts they refused (the promoters) to honour their agreement with me. In simple terms, they failed to pay for my ticket to Jamaica, among other things".

She went on to explain that she packed her bags Thursday night and she was ready to leave on a 10:30 p.m. flight, but her ticket was not purchased by the promoters. She also said, Eric Benet would not be performing either.

One of the promoters, Alan Sorter, has denied the claims made by Chante Moore. He told The Gleaner: "We did not fail to pay for Miss Moore's ticket. At the last minute her manager wanted us to purchase an additional ticket for her assistance, this is after we had already bought two first class tickets for US$3700".

He said we cannot lose sight of the reasons this event was planned.

"It is about raising money for children. It would be hard to purchase another first class ticket, which was not part of the agreement, when there are so many children in Buckfield, Ocho Rios in need", he said.

Regarding Eric Benet's cancellation, Sorter said there have been scheduling problems over a month now. He said Benet was unable to rehearse with the band and that lead to the cancellation. However, Sorter told The Gleaner that Benet still decided to perform, but last week changed his mind again.

Checks made with the Jamaica Tourist Board, one of the major sponsors of the event, revealed that the Board had sponsored the event, because of the promoters' ability to reach the African-American market. Events marketing manager, Frances Yeo, said she couldn't comment at this time as it was early days, and the event had not ended.

Sorter said even though he regretted the fact that two of the main acts would not be coming to Jamaica, there were 40 other events for the over 5,000 visitors who have flown into Jamaica,

Over the one week period, they have experienced a 'Wag'an Jam' at the Little Pub, toured Port Antonio and Negril, were treated to 'Tipsy Turvy Booze Cruise', beach party at Mahogany Beach and a Jamaican cultural show.

The Gleaner understands that the overseas patrons have spent US$3,000 to US$5,000 on packages which include hotel accommodation, show tickets and meals.

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Copyright 2000 Gleaner Company Ltd.