The recently concluded Arts in the Park concert hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment pulled out a good crowd to Hope Gardens last Sunday evening.
The standard of performances made it clear that the future of reggae music is in good hands. however, the crowd's response to the songs performed by the bands again highlighted that local radio stations are failing to expose reggae music to the masses effectively.
Early performers Denyque, Pentateuch and No-Maddz delivered strong sets which the patrons thoroughly enjoyed. They soundly set the ball in motion for the acts that followed.
The event was promoted as a family event and some parents took it literally. Several children were out in the night straddling the backs of their parents as they rocked to the soothing sounds of reggae music.
Those attending an event at Hope Gardens for the first time had to be impressed with the size and ambience of the event.
Reggae music was right at home with trees, clean air, and fresh green grass surrounding it.
The promoters made sure the event embodied more than just the performing arts.
To the left of the audience watching the performances, there stood a section dedicated to artists. They, too, pulled an audience of their own, as several patrons joined lines to get portraits done. Others simply took the opportunity to admire the numerous Jamaican paintings on display.
Grammy award-winning dancehall artiste Shaggy was acting in the capacity of MC for the night, and he introduced female reggae-pop artiste Tessanne Chin at minutes after 8 p.m.
She sang her hit single Hideaway, for which she received favourable response.
Reggae band C-Sharp was next, led by singer Chevaughn. They paid homage to Peter Tosh by singing Equal Rights. The fairly young band did exceptionally well, performing songs from their budding catalogue.
However, the fans could not sing along, not because their songs were new, but clearly because they aren't being played enough to strike familiarity with patrons.
"If you love reggae put your hands in the air," the singer said in an effort to get the audience participating. After a rather solid vocal set, the band exited with The National Pledge.
Following a cameo, courtesy of up-and-coming reggae artiste Dre, it was time for the man of the moment, Chronixx.
Described as being an incredible artiste by Shaggy, Chronixx entered the platfom belting the lyrics to his single Beat and A Mic. He received resounding applause and proceeded to sing other songs like Start A Fyah and No Peace Inna War. All of his songs got positive responses. However, it was Behind Curtains that really brought the house down, ironically bringing a close to Arts in the Park.
State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford was content with the support for the event.
"The execution of the show was good and I am very pleased that it has materialised after many months of consultation and planning. Similar events are slated to be held in other resort areas in the coming months, so we are seeking to use this as a template to energise the entertainment sector and provide well-needed exposure to local performers and artists," he said.
Arts in the Park was conceived to increase the quality of entertainment offerings locally, while providing opportunities for international booking and talent scouts to sign local acts and experience the best of Jamaica.
The initiative provides business networking opportunities for local bands with international agents from companies such as Warner Brothers/Atlantic Records, Sony/ATV Music, Blaze the Stage, St Kitts Music Festival, and Roc Nation.
The event's sponsors included The Gleaner Company Ltd, Heineken, Wata, KFC, Delicious Snacks, Bigga, The Tourism Enhancement Fund, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, and Spanish Town Court Hotel.