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The aftermath of Rebel Salute 2015 - Don Smart's performance the most talked about, says promoter

Published:Sunday | January 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Curtis Campbell, Sunday Gleaner Writer

Reggae artiste/event manager Tony Rebel has come to the defense of iconic reggae artiste Leroy 'Don' Smart, following allegations that the Ballistic Affair singer was booed during his set at the recently concluded Rebel Salute.

According to Tony Rebel, Leroy Smart was not booed during his set, however, some patrons were not very welcoming when the icon attempted to return to the stage to clarify why he did not put forward his best foot during the performance.

The promoter admitted to Smart's claims that the band was not playing his music to perfection. However, he says as a performer, he would have handled the situation differently. He also believes the controversy surrounding Leroy Smart's performance will only work in his favour, since he has a classic catalogue of music to his name.

"There was a disconnect with the band interms of what he wanted them to play and what was being played. But he performed his songs and the people loved it, however, because he constantly argued about the band, a member of the band left the stage and only returned after we spoke to him. But when Leroy left the stage, the people were pleased and they applauded him," he said.

Advice for other performers

In light of what took place, Tony Rebel had some advice for other performers.

"When you experience issues onstage, you have to really be careful how you approach it. What I would have done is to whisper in the ear of one of the band members, and without telling the crowd. Because sometimes a band might not be playing good, but the audience does not know, and it's not always right to tell them, because they might start misbehaving," he continued.

"But Leroy Smart never got booed in his performance, it's when he went back onstage to explain that he wasn't rehearsed, then a few persons began to boo. So he is speaking the truth," Tony Rebel said.

The now seasoned promoter also revealed that Leroy Smart's performance is the most talked about from the entire festival. This he credits to the controversy surrounding rumours that the icon was booed.

"What happened at Rebel Salute can be seen as positive, and you know what they say, no publicity is bad publicity. He should just turn it into positive, I went for Leroy Smart because I grew up on his music, and Leroy, this is not the end of the road, just use this as a positive energy," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Tony Rebel himself is expected to release a new album this year called Love Solider. The singjay has already released singles 70 Bars and Come in Money.

Leroy Smart will be leaving the island on Tuesday to continue his United States tour. The artiste also told The Sunday Gleaner that the negative publicity hurt him deeply because fans that were not at the show would draw an incorrect conclusion.

Apology to fans

To the fans, Smart said, "I apologise that I never gave you a million per cent, that is all I wanted to say, which is why I returned to the stage. But a few people got out of control as it relates to behaving themselves, I worked at Sumfest when Shabba Ranks was here and I mash up the show, my catalogue too big fi me get boo. Leroy Smart don't get boo ... people saw the show, and the Almighty is not sleeping. I respect Tony Rebel, and next time we will get the thing right," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Rebel Salute saw strong performances from Queen Ifrica, Fantan Mojah, Sizzla Kalonji among others.

curtis.campbell@gleanerjm.com