March 29, 2014
After-Champs parties set for tonight
Patrons dancing up a storm at a previously staged after-Champs party.
Promoters promise violence-free events
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
With the ban on after Champs events lifted, promoters are moving full speed ahead to entertain patrons when one of Jamaica's top track and field events come to an end this evening.
Speaking with THE STAR, Desmond 'Hard Ears' Steele, PR and marketing coordinator for Up To The Line, that will be held at Limelight in Half-Way Tree tonight, explained that the event has been around for more than a decade.
"It's been going on for 11 years. There used to be other after-Champs events and they all die out. The event always deliver. It's a high-energy event and kids look forward to it every year," he said.
But the discontinuation of some of the other events that would follow the annual Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships was due largely to the ban police placed on these events. This decision by the police was due to a surge in violent clashes between students from rival schools.
In 2008, popular parties like Puma Finish Line and Up To The Line were denied permit, with the latter eventually getting permission. But in 2009, no after-Champs events were given the go-ahead.
However, by 2012, the ban was lifted.
"The fact that the conflict, the violence and the disputes have been reduced, we are now looking to see how best we can work with some of the promoters," Senior Superintendent of Police Derrick Knight told reporters at the time.
Now Steele says they are making every effort to have a violence-free event.
"For the past two years we partner with the Half-Way Tree Police Station and they send over a whole lot of police, so we have the police across the venue keeping the peace," he said.
He added that there will be surveillance cameras and drinks will only be served in plastic bottles and cups.
Nonetheless, he said much is to be expected from the event as the line-up includes Mavado, I-Octane, Gage, Ryno, Jah Vinci, Stone Love, Rebel T, Foota Hype and Boom Boom.
Another event, Velocity: The Re-Runs, is much newer to the after-Champs line-up. But the promoter, Kashmani Lawrence, also promises a violence-free second staging.
"We have security all over the venue, and we are going to have guards checking if people are smoking or drinking liquor. We will only have cups because glass bottles are a little dangerous," he told THE STAR.
And like last year's staging, he expects this one to be successful.
"Last year was very successful, no violence, no nothing. The only thing change this year is the venue," he said.
Velocity will be held tonight at 15 West Kings House Road in St Andrew. Music will be provided by DJ Heavy D, Chromatic, DJ Khalifa and DJ Kayotic. Part proceeds from the event will go to the Young Men's Christian Association.