Music

Venue problems force cancellation of Shaggy & Friends

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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Diamond-Selling reggae act Shaggy will be taking the time to consider the way forward as he continues to nurture his pet project, The Bustamante Hospital for Children.

The artiste said recent reports regarding the funds raised from the 2018 staging of the popular charity concert had caused such a whirlwind that he is now forced to consult with his core team as to how they deal with certain matters going forward.

Just under two months ago, Shaggy shared that due to his busy touring schedule and projects including his appearance in The Little Mermaid Live which aired on ABC on November 5, he would not be able to dedicate the time and effort to plan the concert. As a result he has cancelled the event for 2020, noting that other smaller fund-raisers would be done throughout the year to continue the work of his Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation at Jamaica's lone paediatric hospital.

However, at yesterday's press conference Shaggy also shared that finding a suitable venue was also a factor in the cancellation of the 2020 staging of the concert.

“Part of the reason we couldn't do it was because we just didn't have a venue. We have been at Jamaica House for years. The concert has gotten bigger and the bigger the concert gets the harder it is to manoeuvre people and traffic and parking. One of the problems we had was trying to get that east lawn at King's House. Without the east lawn it's chaos for Shaggy & Friends. We have had a little bit of an issue with the sitting governor general who really didn't want us to use the east lawn. We have been back and forth for a year and I've had everybody straight up to the prime minister to talk to him. Last year, after a lot of back and forth, he finally kinda caved in and gave us the parking lot. So we figured we were good and could stage another one. Then he sent me a letter saying pretty much don't ask for the parking lot again.”

With Jamaica House out of the question Shaggy's hopes of a venue were raised in March this year when he attended the start to Buju Banton's Long Walk to Freedom concert inside the National Stadium.

“At that point I said to Rebecca [wife] let's take it to the stadium. I went to the Buju concert and it ram and it was all Jamaicans that came out to support him I was so moved by it. That little thing that we have where we depend on foreign artistes all the while Buju just erased that for me. We came up with a campaign called Jamaicans for Jamaica, big thing in the stadium all Jamaican acts. That was the plan that I had for next year. This year was a little bit difficult for me. I wanted to do the concert but the schedule was so rough with the tour from UB40 and The Little Mermaid,” said Shaggy.

— Richard Johnson


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