Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Perennial promoter Horseman knows that his Full Black stage show is a rare type of event these days, especially in Kingston. Slated for the New Mas Camp, National Stadium, on Sunday, it is a straight-out dancehall-style affair, with the performances delivered to recorded tracks.
"Kingston has not had a dancehall show for a long time," Horseman said. This could mean either of two things - there is an unsatisfied demand for a show of this nature, or there is no interest at all. Horseman is, of course, counting on the former.
And he has a line-up to support his confidence. On the line-up are Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw, I-Octane , Macka Diamond, Elephant Man, QQ, and Jah Bouks. Also performing are younger acts Gage, Patrick Badoo, Venjance and Kconeil. Boom Boom, Foota Hype, ZJs Chrome and Sparks, Fire Links, Flava Unit, and Rockaway Movements will drop the beats, while Ron Muschette, GT Taylor and Shaka Fame are responsible for hosting duties.
"The only two artistes we wanted for this Full Black, but who were not available, are Konshens and Aidonia," Horseman said. Both have overseas engagements.
It also does not hurt that Full Black is on its way to being a calendar event. At the first staging, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Ninja Man, Spice, Busy Signal, Chuck Fenda, Cherine Anderson and Hit Man Wallie were among the performers. The mid-October date, coinciding with the National Heroes Day holiday period, has also been consistent. Last year, however, Full Black was 'blown away' by Hurricane Sandy.
Horseman dispelled any notions that the event's name is directly related to Bounty Killer, long known for his dark outfits. Noting that he has been wearing only black clothing for almost 20 years, Horseman said "I was looking for a name. I thought, since I wear full black, let me put on Full Black".
Neither is it a dress code, although Horseman said that is how many persons have taken it. "I never asked anybody to wear black and the first night I was shocked. Mas Camp was a sea of black," he said. There was an outstanding exception, though. "Only Ninja Man was in white," Horseman said.
Part of the stage set-up for Sunday's Full Black is special audience seating on the stage - for a special price, of course. And with the National Stadium hit by motor vehicle thefts at two recent large-scale events, Horseman said he will be having security patrols inside the stadium grounds and also intends to have the outside monitored as well.
Full Black starts at 8 p.m. and Horseman has established guidelines for the performers. Among them are no profanity and no discrimination against any group. And there should also be no word-throwing between individual performers. "I don't want to turn this show into a clash show," Horseman said.
He credits his success as a promoter to the experience as a photographer, covering events. "I was the first person there and the last person to leave. I saw where other promoters went wrong and capitalised on that," he said.
Part proceeds from Full Black are designated for the Windward Road All-Age School," Horseman said.
He does not have any plans to put on Full Black more often. "Once a year is cool. It gives you time to take a break and select. We want to keep it as a dancehall show that every year people look forward to," Horseman said.