Sounding off on the Noise Abatement Act
Since its implementation in 1997, the Noise Abatement Act has been a pain in the rear for sound system operators, particularly those in the Corporate Area. With the law considered an action by the Government to quiet the audible imposition of all-night parties, entertainment industry insiders may have finally figured out how to defend their livelihoods.
At the recent Entertainment Forum hosted by The Gleaner, selector Ricky Trooper, a member of the Jamaica Sound System Federation (JSSF), revealed that at least two organisations have combined efforts to form a dedicated body designed to filter the industry’s noise and project a sound argument to the powers that be.
Amidst the uproar of the federation’s recent ‘No Music No Vote’ social-media campaign –which spurred a meeting among politicians, police, and entertainers – JSSF and the Jamaica Association of Professional DJs, Promoters & Sound System Owners (JAPPS) found common ground. They decided to create an inclusionary board, comprising board members of the various groups, to eventually formally address the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport on a Noise Abatement Act repeal or revision.
No united voice
“There is no voice for us as a people. When we decide to talk about this on any platform, we should expect a pushback. We in the dancehall need to understand, if we’re going to be advocates, we’re supposed to be able to accept the pushback,” panellist Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell said. He believes that a continued lack of unity in the local music industry will perpetuate the Government’s disregard of sound system culture as one of the nation’s most vital cultural elements. “We don’t think proactively inna the music industry,” he said.
“Since this Noise Abatement Act, I get fi find out seh you have roun’ 40 sound-system association, 200 promoters’ association,” Trooper exaggerated. “We a reach out to them, and dem nah come a no meeting. Dem nuh wah tek part. When it comes to reggae music, it’s a dysfunctional system.”
But division in the music industry isn’t a new thing. “Any time them call a meeting, you have so many people a go a di meeting from so many different bodies. You cyaa have no voice like that. Even the Wailer group - Peter gone one way and Bob go one way,” Trooper said.
However, following the response to the entertainers’ threat to hold their votes hostage, Trooper sees a chance for true unity among music industry players peeking over the horizon. “Mi feel seh it a guh happen now because – a the first we really have that support and organisation,” he said.