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Stars R Us - Vintage concert gets social media boost

Published:Friday | October 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Admiral Bailey
Half Pint
George Nooks

The Stars R Us concert series, which started in October 2000 at Mas Camp (then on Oxford Road, New Kingston), focuses largely on performers who were clicking with concert audiences and swiping hit song content from everyday happenings,long before communication was available at click-and-swipe speed.

Now, ahead of the October 20 staging at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road, the series' organiser, Marvin 'Horseman' Wallace, tells The Gleaner that the concert is getting a social-media boost that is propelling it outside of Jamaica.

"The interest is there for international people coming for this show," Horseman said, specifying the United States and England, with queries also coming in from parts of Europe. "This is the first time that we are trying social media for Stars R Us, I am using Facebook and Instagram,"

In addition to the organiser's efforts, there is the publicity from some of the performers. "The artistes have their social media, and they put it up right away," Horseman said. The performers are the original Wailing Souls (coming in from the US), George Nooks, Carl Dawkins, Half Pint, Big Youth, Admiral Bailey, Josey Wales, Admiral Tibet, Flourgon, Paul Elliot, Robert Sergeant and Jah Cutter. Lloyd Parkes and the We the People Band will provide the music, and the MC will be Bob Clarke.

Despite the overseas interest, there are no arrangements between Stars R Us and specific hotels, and a link has not been made with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).

Nooks, Boothe and Bailey were on the first Stars R Us - and so were Gregory Isaacs and Alton Ellis, who died in 2010 and 2008, respectively. However, as time inevitably reduces the number of vintage performers, Horseman is not worried that Stars R Us will also die. Pointing out that there is no shortage of persons growing into vintage territory, he said, "We started out with the '60s. The '70s is there, the '80s is there. The time will come when Buju is on Stars R Us," Horseman said. Plus, he clarifies, "I would not say Stars R Us is strictly vintage. We mix it."

There is evidence of that mix for the next concert in the series, slated for February 2019. Staging it in Reggae Month is geared towards attracting the attention of overseas promoters who will be in Jamaica for the extended celebrations of the island's music. Tony Tuff, Cocoa Tea, Derrick Morgan, Peter Metro and Courtney Melody are among those who will perform.

Horseman also reels off the names of some potential future performers, among them The Gladiators and The Pioneers.

Stars R Us was last held on the final night of Boys and Girls' Champs this year, with the lights of the National Stadium visible from the upper rows of the Ranny Williams Centre - a venue Horseman says the concert's audience enjoys because of the seating. While some persons had expressed concern that the mega athletic event would have affected the Stars R Us turnout Horsemen said, "I never fear. Champs crowd different."

Chuckling he said, "My audience is not a young audience." Horseman also said, "Stars R Us starts at 9 p.m., and by 2 o' clock, we are out of there. I keep going because I want to capture that vintage audience all the while. There is an interest."