‘A beautiful moment cut short’
Well Encounter gospel concert shut down by police
The Well Encounter gospel concert took place on Saturday evening at Sabina Park in Kingston. Hundreds gathered despite the threat of inclement weather to fellowship in pursuit of healing for the nation. However, it was not the showers of rain that served to dampen the event, but rather, an early lock-off time by police officers that left patrons dry.
Speaking with The Gleaner, event organiser Ingrid Larmond expressed her dismay at the abrupt lock-off. According to her, they had a permit that gave them up to midnight, but the officers halted the show minutes after 11 p.m.
“They were there from minutes after 11 talking about shutting it down. We had a permit for 12. Ordinary parties go till all kinds of hours. Till 3 or 4 in the morning, even disobeying the Noise Abatement Act. They wouldn’t even allow us to go on based on the fact that our permit said 12. He shut it down before 12 o’clock. He shut it down at around 11:46. Quite a few minutes before 12 o’clock, and that was certainly because I was trying to hold them off from they got in the building,” she said disappointedly.
“There was no fighting or anything, and we were representing God and having a good time. His explanation was that we said the event would end at 11 p.m. and he was giving us until 12 [midnight]. We paid you for the work. This is not a service you are giving to us because you like us. We are here representing for our country and praying for our nation. It was an event geared towards repentance and worship, and that’s what we did,” Larmond continued.
The show, which was originally planned for December 10, 2022, featured popular local gospel acts Kevin Downswell, Rondell Positive, Rhoda Isabella, and Carlene Davis, as well as international performers Chandler Moore and Naomi Raine from the Atlanta-based worship music collective Maverick City. It was at the beginning of Moore’s performance that the event was cut short and for Larmond, that prevented a beautiful conclusion to an impactful show.
“It definitely affected their [patrons’] experience. Chandler had just started his performance, and as he said, it was going to be an electrifying performance; and it was amazing. People stood there in the stadium and were singing for a long time after. People were just chanting the songs for a good 45 minutes or more. You could hear them. Persons came out and said it was a great experience – and for this to happen. Nobody could understand. I do want to apologise to all our patrons. We were in such shock,” she explained.
Despite the interruption, however, she believes that a lot of healing took place and still dubs the event a success.
“We had a great time. Persons came out saying they had a great time; it’s just the police that come and locked it down. It was an amazing experience. There was a lot of effort gone into it. Millions of dollars, hours of work, people being gracious. People came out. The event was a success ... people were in the rain singing. Some had umbrellas; those who never had just stood in the rain. Naomi soaked herself in the rain to deliver ministry to Jamaica. She walked out on that catwalk in the rain and delivered a song she made up on the spot about the drought being over. All the artistes did their best and it was truly amazing. People even brought canned goods for us to donate to Food For The Poor. It was indeed a beautiful moment cut short,” Larmond told The Gleaner.
As for a second staging of the event, she is not in a position to declare one at this time.
“I really don’t know. If the Lord says yes, then my answer is yes.”