‘Unruly’ patrons nearly spoil Popcaan’s show
From the historic entrance made by Popcaan to countless electrifying performances from some of Jamaica's best, Unruly Fest was a show of epic proportions.
But while events unfolded seamlessly onstage, it was a different scenario at one of the main entrances to the venue.
As the show reached its climax in the early hours of Sunday morning, there was pandemonium at the gate.
Frustrated with the length of time they had to wait to get in, rowdy patrons threatened to spoil the event.
They bombarded the gate, and despite appeals from law enforcers, the situation only escalated. On several occasions, officers had to use pepper spray to restore order.
But the peace did not last long. Eventually, the constant pushing and shoving caused the fences to give way, and patrons barged into the venue in droves.
Some fell to the ground, sustaining minor cuts and bruises.
Two female patrons engulfed in the drama spoke with THE STAR. Shema described herself as a diehard Popcaan fan. That is one of the reasons she made the trek from Montego Bay to St Thomas for the event.
'Just baay slackness'
"Me extremely stress out by da whole Unruly Fest gate supmn here. Me deh here fi ova two hours a wait fi go in, and a just baay slackness. Dem need fi put some better infrastructure in place because dis can't work," she said. "Me love Popcaan; me a real Unruly fan. Me bredda fly dung yesterday (Friday), and a two carload a we come from MoBay. The police dem out here a pepper-spray we and a gwaan like we a animal. It just bad fi di show, and me can't even talk no more 'cause me upset."
Her friend, Melissa, shared the same sentiments.
"Two and a half hour me out deh a wait, fi wah? Fi police pepper-spray we? Me can't do dis next year if dem nuh fix dis. Dem affi do better," she said.
Well aware of the situation that unfolded at the gate, organisers have admitted that they have a few issues to iron out before the next staging of the show.
In a statement sent to THE STAR, event producer Carleene Samuels said that they had anticipated the event to grow in terms of turnout beyond last year and that come 2020, she expected the growth to continue.
With that said, she stated that the team had already gone back to the drawing board to see how they can improve on the next event.
"We are thrilled about Saturday's turnout, and we have already begun to analyse all aspects of the event. There are some limitations with which we have to work, including the size and condition of the roads and the availability and size of the venues, but our team has done a tremendous job in working to ensure that Unruly Fest was and will continue to be a success," she said. "It is our intention that with each year, the event will continue its development into a major festival that represents the eastern parishes."