Digicel, Downsound entertain disappointed stadium crowd
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
While the Reggae Boyz failed to win at the National Stadium on Friday night, sending thousands of patrons into depression, Downsound Records and Digicel scored heavily.
Entertainment and sports are known to complement each other and the organisers of Friday's World Cup qualifier, ensured that the patrons received value for money, even if the result of the game was not to their liking.
At the main entrance was a Digicel mobile truck equipped with loud speakers and popular selector Foota Hype.
Foota Hype played dance music from Black Eyed Peas as well as the Jamaica 50 theme song, On A Mission.
"Dah match yah name kick out teeth, this is not Jamaica vs Panama. It's Jamaica run ova Panama yu hear dat," Foota Hype said.
The music was engaging but patrons didn't necessarily stop to dance. They were more interested in getting into the venue.
stream of patrons
Inside the stadium was fairly empty at minutes after 6 p.m., though there was a constant stream of patrons entering from the various points.
Greeting those patrons was the Flava Unit sound system, which created a more tranquil atmosphere, it's selectors opting for reggae singles like Ken Boothe's Artibella, Third World's If It's Love and Barrington Levy's Too Experienced.
The sun was golden like the attire of the patrons (or vice versa). Clinging to their horns, the patrons moved to the music while they awaited the main attraction, a classic Jamaica-Panama face-off.
Some songs which had thousands roaring in approval were Sizzla's Holding Firm and Aidonia's Run Road.
"Football and entertainment ehh what a good mix," DJ Badda Bling said during the juggling, before going on to play songs like Grooving My Girl by Richie Spice and Couldn't Be The Girl from Terry Linen.
Busy Signal's Jamaica Love single, had everybody inside the National Stadium professing their love for the island. The song set the stage for Downsound Record to unleash it's artistes in full performance mode.
Specialist was first to grace the stage and he sang Street Hustle and Gyalis Anthem before passing the mic to Ninja Man.
The veteran deejay, dressed in an ensemble which left nothing to the imagination regarding his loyalties to the national team, received a rousing welcome.
He delivered a few freestyles and the audience loved it.
Ishawna and reggae artiste Nature also shared their talent.
Foota Hype, who is also signed to Downsound Records, got into the mix of things, sending threats to the Panama football team by playing Vybz Kartel's Badda Dan Dem.
"Panama a guh get six," he said, then made way for the match to start.
The half-time break also featured entertainment. This time by 2013 breakthrough artiste Chronixx. He sang Odd Ras, Warrior and Behind Curtains.
At the end of all the excitement, the match ended in a draw. Most Jamaican fans left disappointed, however, there can be no doubt that it was not because the event failed to provide entertainment.