Fri | Dec 9, 2016

A less-than-grand Gala

Published:Wednesday | August 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Independence Grand Gala is an event that a lot of persons look forward to each year to celebrate Jamaica's rich culture and heritage. However, the most recent staging on August 6 left a lot to be desired.

As a patron, I was dissatisfied with the entry to the National Stadium, as well as the seating arrangements inside the grandstand, and the offerings on stage.

A few friends and I travelled to the National Stadium and we arrived at 4:15 p.m for a 6 p.m. event. The long line that greeted us at the main entrance gate moved at a snail's pace and there was no form of order, as persons squeezed their way into the line.

The long lines were as a result of the strict security measures implemented by the police personnel who searched everyone entering the venue. This was a bit inconvenient, as persons who had babies and other young children had to stand in the rain.

After finally coming through the main entrance gate, we proceeded to the area where persons with grandstand tickets were being admitted. That line was also quite long, and with the rain pelting, one would've hoped that the security personnel would have exercised some discretion in how they were executing their functions.

After passing through that challenge, we proceeded to the grandstand area with our tickets. The seat numbers assigned to us had been taken by other patrons, so, without making a fuss, we proceeded to empty seats that we saw.

When persons holding those seat tickets finally came, it was a case of confusion. They demanded their seats and at times police and security personnel had to intervene.

It would've made a lot of sense if the authorities made sure that persons seated were sitting in the seats for which they had tickets.

After the rains subsided, the stage area for the performers was drenched, and very little was done to remove the water. As a result, dancers had to perform around the water, while some skidded and others fell into it. Couldn't the organisers have ensured that the stage area was secured from the rain?

And speaking of dancers: Why, at a national event, were the dancers performing to the usual dancehall filth we hear each day on the radio? If we wanted to watch 'Dancin' Dynamites', we would've stayed home. It would have been more appropriate if the dancers were moving to Festival songs of the past to coincide with the Independence mood.

The Independence Grand Gala requires a total overhaul and the arrangements for entering the National Stadium need to be reviewed.

CONCERNED PATRON

As a patron, I was dissatisfied with the entry to the National Stadium, as well as the seating arrangements inside the grandstand, and the offerings on stage.