Promoters feel pinch from event fees

January 18, 2018
Party promoter Wren 4 Life
Patrons party up a storm at Magnum Big People Tuesdayz Anniversary in 2016.
Damion Crawford

While entertainers are benefiting from the copyright fees paid to agencies like the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) and Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP), some small party promoters say they are feeling the pressure financially.

In addition to JAMMS and JACAP, a fee must be paid to the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) before an event promoter can get a licence to host a party. All three fees can sometimes total $15,000.

"It's really hard to find that much when there is a 2 a.m. cut off time. It would be much easier if an extension is given to a promoter on the night of his event. I am not saying that the relevant persons should not be compensated, but $15,000 is really steep for us especially when a party really don't kick into gear until about one or so," said promoter Miggalle Grant.

Grant is one of the hosts of Progress Fridays that is held on Caldwell Avenue in Duhaney Park, Kingston 20.

Similar sentiments were echoed by businessman and former Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew and People's National Party senator, Damion Crawford, who said that parties are becoming unprofitable for the smaller promoters.


Crawford said that these events are sources of livelihood for many people especially the unemployed and the underpaid.

"With all of these fees, events are becoming unprofitable for the small promoter. We should install measures that facilitate them. I really don't know how these fees are arrived at, but if a promoter doesn't have a gate fee and is depending on his bar alone to make a money, I don't think he should be charged the same amount as others who have an admission fee," he said.

In 2015, when Crawford was minister of state in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, he said changes were being considered for the Noise Abatement Act to extend the party lock-off hours beyond 2 a.m. under special circumstances.

"We were trying to set up an extension of the 2 a.m. curfew, but the current Government did not continue with it. Now there are complaints from both sides as JACAP and JAMMS are saying that they are not receiving the money and the artistes are saying that they are not getting enough compensation from these entities," he said.

Crawford said that he is imploring both royalties and collecting agencies to publish their reports in order for the general public to see how the monies are collected and distributed.

However, Damion 'Wren 4 life' Miller, CEO of All Starz Entertainment who hosts Magnum Big People Tuesdayz, said he is standing by the collection agencies.

"This is nothing new really, and for a while JAMMS and JACAP fees weren't being paid, so now they are enforcing it," Miller said.

He noted that the entities are sometimes quite flexible, so promoters can go in and talk to them.

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