Sun | Jun 16, 2019

Startime to end after 31 years

Published:Wednesday | January 10, 2018 | 12:19 AMShereita Grizzle
Marcia Griffiths and Bob Andy performing at a previous Startime show.

May 5, 2018, that’s the date for the final staging of vintage stage show, The Original Startime, formerly known as Heineken Startime.

The event dubbed, The Original Startime: Final Chapter, is scheduled to be held at Mas Camp and will be the curtain closer for a show that has lasted more than three decades.

According to Startime organiser, Michael Barnett, the show has enjoyed a good run.

“It has been an overwhelming and extremely enjoyable 31 years, and all good things (physically) must come to an end one day,” he said, explaining that the lack of sponsorship played a major role in the show’s demise.

“The cost to promote high-quality live shows in Jamaica today is skyrocketing; cash sponsorship from Corporate Jamaica, is virtually non-existent and we all know shows cannot survive without cash sponsorship. 

“Remember major shows like Reggae Sunsplash, Sting, Jamaica Jazz and Blues ...who would have thought they would be just memories today.”

Corporate Ja, Gov’t urged to do more

Having mentioned a few of the stage shows that no longer exist in Jamaica, Barnett pointed out that more needs to be done to help the few reggae and dancehall shows left on the scene to survive. He explained that having seen a growth in soca events in particular, he believes more can be done ,as far as sponsorship is concerned to level the playing field between the number of carnival, reggae and dancehall shows.

“I’m not against soca and carnival activities ...they have a place in society. However, I believe quality Jamaican events (emphasis on quality), should have pride of place where sponsorship dollars are concerned, here in Jamaica,” he expressed.

“Most of the shows that have disappeared from the Jamaican scene over the years, feature Jamaican music and that is unacceptable. It is an established fact that stage shows in Jamaica cannot survive without some cash input from Corporate Jamaica and maybe the Government to a lesser extent, and this is just not happening. It is a serious concern of mine that the whole carnival movement and the red-hot party scene is quietly taking over Jamaica’s entertainment landscape and attracting all of the Corporate cash dollars.”

With that said, Barnett told The Gleaner, that adequate sponsorship or not, he will be pulling out all the stops come May to ensure that the final staging of Startime is an experience patrons will never forget.

“Weather permitting, the concert will display all the traditions of Startime detailed organisation from the team and all stakeholders, including security and the police, adequate secured parking in the National Stadium Car Park, easy access in and out of the venue, ultra- safe surroundings, an on-time start to the concert, a tight and exciting production,” he said.
“We will have thrilling performances from all our Startime artistes along with exceptional, authentic backing from Lloyd Parks and We the People, lots of giveaways from our treasured sponsors, and the well-known ‘Startime’ vibes.”

In addition to Lloyd Parks and We the People band, Marcia Griffiths, Sanchez and Horace Andy have already been booked, with other acts expected to be added as time progresses.