Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
The National Indoors Sports Centre was painted black on Thursday night, as more than 3,000 patrons turned out in celebration of Sir Arthur Guinness Day.
The venue was not full at 7 p.m. but that was set to change. By showtime, there was no space for more patrons coming to celebrate Sir Arthur Guinness Day. Maybe the throng wasn't there for that either, as an attractive line-up of artistes lay in wait to promote the life of the man who had started a brand but may never have envisaged it becoming part and parcel of dancehall culture.
Patrons were treated to a Guinness-inclusive deal for the first hour of the event, and many lovers of the stout, flocked the numerous bar areas in an attempt to sample as much of the dark brew as they could.
The venue was given a makeover from last year's staging. However, the production was just as effective.
There was a raised platform which acted as the VIP section. The main stage was strategically placed in the middle with a DJ booth to the left.
The booth played host to DJs Kurt Riley and Wah Wa. While the disc jocks were in their element and playing well, patrons were really awaiting the real action onstage.
During Wah Wa's set, Guinness dancers produced an action-packed performance with well-choreographed moves.
Reggae act Nature started the show on a positive note, performing an acoustic rendition of World Peace.
Aidonia and his JOP camp were to follow. Dressed in a green suit, Aidonia belted the lyrics of Run Road and Jockey, patrons responding well to his set.
In general, the artistes performed well in a bid to entertain the sea of Jamaican fans.
I-Octane seemed set to prove a point and he did so effectively, courtesy of his solid set of high-energy and inspirational material. He also gave patrons brawta by bringing out Guinness' greatest dancehall icon, Bounty Killer.
Together they performed their 2012 song of the year, Bad Mind Dem A Pree, to a rip-roaring response.
Tarrus Riley was next and his set was equally electrifying. Every song performed from his growing catalogue incited strong reaction. Riley was accompanied by veteran saxophonist Dean Frazer and they set the bar so high that many patrons wondered if Busy Signal could have reached it. He did.
Seeing the responses to the artistes before him, Busy opted to start his set with his energetic dancehall hit, Step Out. While the song was well received, the climax to his set would come later when he called on violinist Jessica Yapp for a performance of These are The Days. During Yapp's performance, many patrons couldn't hear, because of the blare of vuvuzelas.
Busy brought the performances to a close with Major-Lazer produced Bumaye.
Guinness brand manager Racquel Nevins told The Gleaner Arthur Guinness Day celebrations took much planning.
However, based on the huge turnout, and seeing Jamaicans coming together to celebrate one cause, it was all worth it.
Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer