Saying Barbados is well positioned to be the entertainment capital of the Caribbean, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley is calling on the private sector to support this objective by investing in the development of additional venues capable of hosting large entertainment events.
Lashley’s call, in a Barbados TODAY interview, came at the end of another successful Digicel Reggae Festival which climaxed last evening after the staging of Reggae on the Hill at the Farley National Park in St Peter. He also called on persons involved in the entertainment industry to see music, not just as entertainment, but as big business.
“Each year I see that the festival is growing. I believe that this is a good example of a private sector initiative that continues to attract huge numbers. Given what I have seen from the organizers, it will get even bigger and better,” predicted Lashley.
He added: “One of the things we certainly have to look at in Barbados is creating more venues for entertainment. We make a mistake by only pointing to the government to create venues. Private developers and entrepreneurs who have been making this their business also need to focus on the other aspect of creating venues that can host huge shows.”
The Culture Minister said such investment could serve to attract international shows given that a number of international artists already come to the island to do recordings. “They don’t have to wait for the government to do that. This is something that (they) can see as an investment . . . with the vision of Barbados being the mecca for music . . .,” he said.
Lashley said that with the recent passage of the Cultural Industries Development Act, there was a tremendous opportunity for musicians to focus more on treating music as a business. “I think people need to see music as a business. It is no longer a pastime,” he said.
“It is not only on stage, there is the whole dynamic of the management of the artist, creating the whole awareness of copyright. All of those areas are ripe for business ventures and I want to encourage the private sector to come on board. A lot of our artists require support. It is not only the government that can give them that support.”
Chief executive officer of the Barbados Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William Griffith, said he was “all for” the creation of venues that could attract large numbers of people. However, he cautioned that such a move should take into consideration the type of events that venues were being created for.
“When it comes to venues, it depends on the event that you have chosen and really whether the venues actually fit the type of numbers of audience,” said Griffith.
Pointing to the Reggae on the Hill event, which attracted in excess of 10,000 people, Griffith said he was comfortable that location was ideal for that event.
Freddy Hill of FAS Entertainment, organizers of the annual Digicel Reggae Festival, said he was pleased with current venues where the events were held. However, he agreed Barbados could do with some additional ones.