Adrian Frater, News Editor
As preparation for the 25th staging of Western Consciousness continues to take shape, loyal fans of the annual one-night musical event have been calling promoter Worrell King, making suggestion regarding the acts that should be featured this year.
One act that the fans appear desperate to see again is perennial crowd-pleaser and captain of Big Ship Promotions, the veteran Freddie McGregor, who has made all of six appearances on the 24-year-old roots/culture concert.
"Freddie has performed at Western Consciousness on six occasions and had he been available at other times, it could well have been more than a dozen times," said King, the CEO of King of Kings Promotions, the promoters of the popular one-night concert.
While electrifying performances such as his 2005 set - which left fans in awe after belting out songs like Bobby Babylon, All In The Same Boat, Push Come To Shove and That Girl - is a memory to cherish for King, the biggest most unforgettable moment for the promoter was an off-stage occurrence.
While he cannot remember the precise date, King said that after heavy rains had wreaked havoc with one staging of Western Consciousness, he was in the process of paying the artistes when Freddie McGregor handed back his pay cheque.
"I cannot take this money from you because I can see you did not make any money tonight," King recalled McGregor saying to him. "Call this money I am returning an investment in seeking to keep Western Consciousness alive."
King said that even on the occasions that McGregor was not booked for the show, he would still call offering encouragement because of his solid support for Western Consciousness' non-compromising stances in regard to lewd and derogatory lyrics.
"Freddie understands the struggle of trying to stage an event without those artistes, who are not willing to subscribe to the standards we have set for Western Consciousness," said King. "It is, therefore, quite pleasing to us when he calls offering encouragement."
Interestingly, the McGregor legacy at Western Consciousness stepped up a notch two years ago when Freddie's son Chino performed on the show, basically stamping the Big Ship seal of approval on the event.
While the likes of Beenie Man as Ras Moses, Bounty Killer as Rodney Pryce, Beres Hammond, Buju Banton, Tarrus Riley, Marcia Griffiths, Mykal Rose and Lee 'Scratch' Perry have left unforgettable impact on Western Consciousness, for many, Freddie McGregor is their man.