Organisers might chop Sumfest line-up - Long band changes too much for patrons

July 26, 2017
Robert Russell
The long band changes meant nap time for several patrons who got comfortable in their chairs during the wait.
The Sumfest stage at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay, has already been set.
The sleep was just too much for these women during the long band changes.

What could have been perhaps the best executed Reggae Sumfest in recent times was flawed by long band changes on night two of the festival held at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay on Saturday.

Many patrons were upset about the length of time they had to wait in between band changes for the next act to grace the stage. They also expressed annoyance at the awkward silence that took over the venue during these changes.

"The band changes were killing me. They were way too long and nothing was happening while they were setting up. We were just waiting in silence until they finished and the next artiste come on stage," said Michelle Lee, who journeyed to the show from Hong Kong.

Aware of the grievances expressed by some patrons, Sumfest’s Robert Russell told THE STAR that come next year, organisers will be doing their best to ensure the experience is not repeated.

He told THE STAR that a big part of the time issue was that there were too many acts booked on the night, and most acts wanted to work with their own band.

“To be honest, we had too many bands. Everybody had their own band and that was the problem. We didn’t have that problem on a Friday night because several artistes performed with the same band,” he said, explaining that booking fewer artistes for the Saturday night may also help to solve the time issue that plagued the show this year.

“We’re going to ensure that we don’t have that many bands in the future, and ensure that we minimise the time each band has to make their changes,” he said.

He continued: "We also think we had too many artistes on the line-up for Saturday night, and so what we will do next year is reduce the amount of artistes on the Saturday night, and that will reduce the amount of band changes.”

Russell also pointed out that while there were complaints, there were persons who were happy for the band changes as it gave them the opportunity to get themselves refreshed.

“Some people appreciated the time in between changes because they could go and get something to eat, visit the bathrooms, etc. So some were happy. They took the opportunity to walk around the venue, explore the booths, and so on.”

He also said that had the audience been entertained during these breaks, persons might not have paid attention to the wait time. He revealed that organisers are already talking about improving in that area as well.

“We should have been playing really good music on the speakers while the changes were taking place,” he said. “We were running ads, but that’s not what people wanted to hear. So next year we will have the entertainment factor adjusted to ensure our audience enjoys themselves at all time throughout the show. If that means bringing in some selectors and have them play some music, then that’s what we will do,” Russell told THE STAR

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