Weddy Weddy to play by new rules - Stone Love founder says weekly event will be scaled back drastically
It will not be partying as usual when popular weekly dancehall session, Weddy Weddy Wednesdays, returns after the COVID-19 lockdown has ended.
Stone Love owner, Winston 'Wee Pow' Powell, told THE STAR that changes are definitely in the making for the event, which is held every Wednesday night at the sound system's Burlington Avenue headquarters in St Andrew.
"Of course, every Wednesday will be 'Weddy time again'," Powell said. "But it will come back in a different format."
Powell went on to give some insight into what this dancehall staple will look and feel like.
"Say, for example, that Weddy used to have 1,000 patrons weekly. We will now have to scale back drastically. Perhaps we will be able to accommodate up to 100 persons, and this is to ensure that social distancing and all the new regulations are adhered to," Powell explained.
Attempting to see the light side of what will be the 'new normal', Powell said that social distancing was being practised even before COVID-19 struck because "dem (patrons) never want to dance with each another anyway".
Another change relates to the entire operations on the property, which is now also being used for a different type of entertainment.
"There is a community bar here [Burlington Avenue] that opens daily under the guidelines set out for these establishments. We registered and made all the criteria, and received our licence. The bar opened two weeks ago," Powell said.
Regarding a timeline for Weddy Weddy Wednesdays' sound to be turned on, Powell said he was exercising patience. According to him, "We are watching this thing [COVID-19] and we don't intend to rush anything."
"When everything looks good and safe and we have all the right protocols in place, we will welcome back our loyal patrons. We miss them and we know they miss us," he said.
Weddy Weddy Wednesdays' last staging was March 11, the same night that the Government had an emergency press briefing and announced an initial 14-day ban on all entertainment events. The session ended with a whimper, rather than the usual Weddy bang.
"We had already set up for Weddy when the announcement was made som time after 5 o'clock that evening. A few persons who weren't fully aware of what was happening still turned up, but we juss chill. Nutten never gwaan," Powell recalled.
Weddy Weddy Wednesdays, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2019, was conceptualised by Powell and deejay Elephant Man.
The long-running outdoor session, which is attended by the major players in the music business as well as celebrities, has paved the way for several artistes, selectors and dancers to enjoy local and international success.