6ix vex over Sumfest fiasco - We did everything to make it work, says Squash’s manager
Anticipation for the performance of trending dancehall group, the '6ix', has been high since its frontman Squash was released from police lock-up in January.
His concert, 6ix Is Real, would have marked a glorious welcome for the fast-rising deejay, who spent six months in custody under the Emergency Powers Act. Scheduled for March 29, the event was indefinitely postponed after being denied a permit. Then came his scheduled performance at the Red Stripe Live concert last month, which was cut short because of other contractual conflicts.
Last Friday's concert was highly publicised as the first major local showcase for Squash and members of the 6ix, including right-hand Chronic Law, who were tasked to close Festival Night One at Reggae Sumfest in St James. This third major moment was not a charm, as the 6ix did not even get to utter a lyric from their modish catalogue. The long hand of the law reached out and clamped down on the event, citing the use of profanity.
Squash's manager, Junior 'Heavy D' Fraser, expressed his disappointment to The STAR, adding that his team did their best to uphold their obligations.
Three hours late
"Dem seh we supposed to ready 3:15 a.m. to reach the venue and we mek sure reach at that time cause dem seh we supposed to perform at 5:15 a.m. cause the show a go end at 5:30 a.m.," he said. "When we go there dem seh the show three hours late. Me see dem a mek everybody perform dem full set and mi realise seh dis nah go work. Dem mek Chronixx do almost two hours pon the stage and mi go backstage and ask why dem cya cut the time cause dem seh the show a run late. Dem seh dem cut him to one hour but him still do more than that. Everybody come and it continue to drag out. We did everything in our power to make the show work."
Police had extended the show by daybreak, but closed the curtains after 8 a.m., following an expletive-filled performance by St Ann-based deejay, Jahvillani.
"Me think the police coulda use dem conscience likkle more fi mek it work, but it is what it is," Fraser said. "The youth (Jahvillani) come out a cuss badword and nobody went to him and tell him to stop. Dem coulda tek him off the stage, lock him up or tell him to stop. I was on the stage, Chronic Law was on the stage, Squash was at the foot of the stage, they were ready. Mi vex because after you promote an artiste fi six months, the organisers should have gone out of their way to make it work. The main headliner should have been allowed to work."
He said their compensation was not affected, and the team is moving forward despite "the fight against dancehall."
Choosing to not go down the rabbit hole of the 'should-haves' and 'could-haves' is Reggae Sumfest organiser Joe Bogdanovich.
"I don't wanna promote negative, sensational headlines, I don't want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of constructive criticism and how to make things better," he told The STAR. "The police did say they had to end the event because of the profanity, and maybe it was kind of late, then there is the state of emergency, there are a lot of considerations here. There's some history with Squash, which is potentially problematic. He's a citizen who is trying to improve his life and do better things and get away from bad influences. He lives in Kingston and you have to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is really trying to change his life and uplift his life, that's what is important and we should encourage him. He's a positive kid with a great voice and good lyrics."