Stop damaging Sumfest! - Int'l producer lashes artistes for overpricing, bad behaviour

July 22, 2017
Daddy Biggs
Robert Russell
Skatta Burrell


'Fat Friday' rhythm producer and distributor, Daddy Biggs of Platinum Camp, has lashed out against artistes who, he says, have been charging Reggae Sumfest organisers exorbitant sums of cash to perform on the show, as well as those who have gotten themselves in conflicts during the build-up to the event.

Biggs was not prepared to call the names of the artistes he was making reference to, noting that his message carries more value than literally calling the names of artistes.

"I live in the States, and looking at the small amount of shows in Jamaica for artistes to perform, it's a shame. How can the capital of reggae and dancehall music only have two major shows for the entire year? I lay the blame on the artistes who continue to overprice themselves and those who continue to give off a negative attitude which paints events in a negative light. I have been hearing about a few incidents between artistes before Sumfest even kick off good, and mi a ask the man dem to control the ego. A man is just a man. You have a chance to feed your family, so make use of it and avoid confrontations. This is a music industry and not a battleground," he said.

The producer was making reference to allegations that two dancehall acts recently had a minor confrontation at a Reggae Sumfest rehearsal.

He also warned artistes against overpricing at local events.

"If a man a fly you out for a big event, I can see why you would want to charge a lot of money because if an overseas-based promoter wants to book you, he clearly knows that you have a pull on fans. But for local shows, shows that are building your culture, you have to be considerate for the longevity of those shows. When you make your prices so high, you block other local acts from being booked, and you also strain the resources of the same event that is benefiting you," he said.


Lacking in vision


Daddy Biggs, who recently released a new compilation called the 'Fat Friday' rhythm, also said some Jamaican artistes are lacking in vision and are focused on only short-term goals.

Reggae Sumfest organiser, Robert Russell, agreed with Biggs, claiming that overpricing and negative behaviours are self-destructing traits of some local acts.

"This is where you are earning a living, and if you destroy your own office, it is to your own detriment. You can't be getting in conflicts when you should be a role model for the youth," he told THE STAR.

"As for artistes setting their prices too high, we have gotten that on a regular basis, but it is up to us to negotiate so that we can afford to have other artistes on the line-up. We want to be able to spread the funds across the board. It is ironic how artistes can charge you a lot of money, then go on the show with bad behaviour and chase away the sponsors. How can that work in your favour?" he asked.

Russell also said some local artistes are unable to pull a huge crowd, and therefore to demand an exorbitant performance fee is very unreasonable.

He also said to produce Reggae Sumfest annually costs the organisers more than $200 million, a sum which is sometimes not recouped.

"It's worth it because it is a shot in the arm for the economy in Montego Bay because so many factors of the community benefit," he said.

Skatta Burrell, member of Sumfest Promotions team, said certain class A acts like Mavado and Alkaline can be paid between $1 million and $3 million. However, he said acts who are not hot should not be paid more than $200,000.

"If you are not hot, you should be paying me to come on my show," he said.

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