Promoter claims... Dancehall events dwindling in the US

July 01, 2016
Junior Wellington
Heavy D
@Normal:Kalado
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Connecticut-based promoter Junior Wellington feels dancehall events and festivals are dying in parts of the United States.

As a result, Wellington has turned his focus to promoting mainly Jamaican comedic plays because dealing with dancehall acts and their managers is just too much.

"Most of these booking agents or managers are really not professional in their approach. You get the feeling that they don't care to market the image or brand of the artiste," Wellington told THE WEEKEND STAR.

"For example, they would know that a well known and organised promoter is in the area ... who will make sure that the artiste is properly promoted in the media. But, of course, this established promoter is not going to pay some astronomical booking, based on experience of the potential gain."

INEXPERIENCED PROMOTERS

According to Wellington, booking agents opt to take cash from inexperienced and unknown promoters, who do not make sure that the artiste is properly promoted before the event.

"When an artiste flops in an area, it's not easy for him or her to come back until they get a major hit. So when a manager is going to say to you, 'make me an offer', and you make an offer based on experience, most of these managers are telling you that they can get a better offer from someone in the area," he said.

Wellington also claims dancehall acts want to bring entourages along with them overseas at the promoter's expense. He said the only way the industry can experience a turnaround is when agents and managers educate themselves about the business, especially the overseas market.

Claiming that it is risky to book dancehall artistes, Wellington said he constantly worries about whether or not the acts will even catch their flight or turn up at the venue.

"I had a contract once with an artiste for an agreed fee. When he showed up at the venue, he decided that he needed more money 'because the place ram'. At this point I had no choice, even with a contract in hand, but to pay him extra. If he refused to go on stage, there goes my reputation. Suffice it to say, that artiste is now in Jamaica with no visa," Wellington said.

UNDERSTAND THE BUSINESS

"They need to get managers who understand the business and I don't mean the 'eat a food' mentality. Make sure that you are a brand and not just a one-hit wonder. People will remember your brand long after your song stop playing on the radio."

When contacted, veteran manager, booking agent and promoter Heavy D said while there is some truth to Wellington's claim, he said the decline is not just because persons are unprofessional.

"I see new events so I can't say it's altogether correct. The reason why there is decline is because a lot of the major dancehall acts cannot travel. At the same time, some of the man dem do give problems and the young artistes must realise that there is no you without the promoter, so you should be more reasonable," he said.

Dancehall artiste Kalado, however, said some promoters try to swindle artistes.

"Some promoters tell you that the venue can hold 1,000 persons and get you to charge them cheap. Then when you arrive the venue holds 3,000 persons," Kalado said.

He added: "When an artiste gets a hit, his life changes, so he deserves to travel first class and not the worst class."

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