The economic situation in the country has affected this year’s staging of the Barbados Reggae Festival.
Al Gilkes, the lead promoter of the three-show event, has revealed that as a result, telecommunications firm Digicel Barbados has relinquished its title sponsorship of the entire festival and will only be putting its money behind one event this year – the Digicel Reggae on the Hill.
However, Gilkes, a director of FAS, reported that several other sponsors have come on board with the annual event, which is set for April 22 to 29 this year.
“This is a situation where the economy is shrinking and people’s pockets are no longer able to afford a lot of the luxuries that they afford before, [so] we have to look at expanding our sponsorship base by whatever means possible in order to make up what we will lose,” Gilkes explained, adding that the premier reggae event had already taken a dive in terms of ticket sales last year.
However, he anticipated that last year’s numbers would hold this year.
“We lost money last year because of the drop in ticket sales, because of the significant decrease in spending power caused by the serious economic financial state that we are in now . . . but this year even if we are the same levels of last year, [there is] the increase of sponsorship . . . [so] we are relatively sure that our gains will not be in the red,” he added.
This year’s Reggae On the Beach event will be sponsored by Magnum Tonic Wine, while Mount Gay 1703 will sponsor the Vintage Reggae Show and Dance.
FAS has also partnered with three local radio stations, therefore SLAM 101.1 FM will present at the Magnum Tonic Wine Reggae on the Beach on April 22; Q100.7 FM at the Mount Gay 1703 Vintage Reggae Show and Hott 95.3 FM at the Digicel Reggae On The Hill.
Richard Haynes, marketing manager of SLAM 101.1 FM, commended FAS for providing an opportunity for competing radio stations to work together and also highlight local artistes.
“This is a very big move,” Haynes said, adding that it was “commendable that you always focus on local artistes and developing local talent”.