Recently I attended Reggae Sumfest and was flabbergasted to see children running around at Catherine Hall in the late hours of the night when they should have been in bed in the comfort of their homes. There were a couple artistes who also brought their children along for the show, which could have been rated as M for mature audiences and, in some instances, X, given the X-rated lyrical and visual content.
I was surprised when I entered the venue and was given a red armband as a signal that I am old enough to drink alcohol. I haven't attended the event in a couple years and I don't recall this as a feature, but I figured this was a new feature to safeguard against younger attendees who are below the legal age to drink alcohol. Never would I have imagined that parents would take their young children along or that the organiser would allow it.
Throughout the night, these children would have been exposed to profane and sexually explicit lyrics backed by borderline pornographic choreography, which included shower scenes, dry humping, etc.
It is bad enough that some parents are doing a poor job at monitoring the level of online exposure to which children have access, but to take them to see it live is a new low.
Many of our problems in society stem from poor parenting, which appears to get worse as the years go by. We can argue about the influence of music on behaviour until the cows come home, but studies have shown that graphical lyrical contents in some music can impact adolescent sexual and violent behaviour.
I find it hypocritical that so many of us turn up our noses at the downtown massive when we see children running around in the dance, yet it is OK to pay to take them into the VIP area at Reggae Sumfest. Two Jamaicas?
Since the parents do not know better, I believe the organiser can do the right thing and not allow the admittance of children to an adult show. And if the organiser cannot do it, perhaps the authorities can. Put the children to bed and leave them at home with a responsible adult to watch over them.
The Dave Kelly tribute delivered by Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Baby Cham, Wayne Wonder, Spragga Benz, and Frisco Kid was reminiscent of the glorious 1990s as it set Catherine Hall ablaze. These are talented dancehall artistes who only need a good rhythm and a band like Ruff Kutt to deliver without the bells and whistles brought on stage by some acts.