The stage is set for the hosting of the 15th annual Reggae on the Hill show at the Farley Hill Park in St Peter.
During a site visit today with stakeholders, organizers of the event which forms part of the 14th annual Barbados Reggae Festival, said they have made a few tweaks this year to ensure patrons have a better experience.
Apart from the Digicel Reggae on Hill, the festival also consists of the Reggae Party Cruise, Magnun Tonic Wine Reggae Beach Party and the Mount Gay Extra Old Vintage Reggae show and Dance.
Adisa Aja Andwele, one of the organizers, told reporters all the venues and vendors for the show are ready.
“The sound and stage management are in place. As we speak, the beach is being set up. So the production team for the Reggae Festival is ahead of the game right now in terms of preparedness and making the event the usual professional standard that has been set over the years. All systems are go right now for this event,” Andwele told reporters.
The annual site visit is designed to bring stakeholders up to date on the progress and ensure they were “all on the same page”.
Director of FAS Entertainment Al Gilkes said this year a fifth gateway entrance would be added for admission to the Farley Hill show to alleviate congestion.
Gilkes explained that although the gates opened at 11 a.m., the majority of people often turn up after 1 p.m. creating a “mass congestion [lasting] up to 6 o’clock”.
“In order to avoid this… we are adding an additional line of entry for general [admission]. We will also allow the VIP line to be used for both VIP and general if it comes to that point. With this, the possibility of having that serious congestion problem will be minimized,” Gilkes explained.
The VIP section has been a major highlight of the near 10-hour show and Gilkes said the stage design would also be slightly different, giving VIP patrons a better view of the performers.
“The stage has two large sound stacks at the side… so people who are in line with that, [which] is almost half of those in VIP, are obstructed as far as seeing what is on stage,” he said.
“We are changing that by building a projection to the front of the stage which will allow the artiste to come off the main stage about six feet. That allows for more visibility as far as persons in the VIP are concerned,” said Gilkes.
In addition, officials have added more screens and sound systems to the venue to give everyone the feeling of “being in the same event”.
Meanwhile, Director Freddy Hill said all the contracts for the artists have been signed and they should start arriving from Saturday for the Reggae Beach Party on Sunday.
Hill explained that ticket sales were on par with that of last year, and while they expected a last minute rush for tickets, they were expecting just over 12,000 patrons on the Hill.
He said overseas bookings were “very high” this year, with a number of people coming from the US, Canada, Europe, St Martinique, Guadeloupe and other Caribbean countries, and as far away as Japan.
Online sales reached about 3,000 last year, the majority of which were from overseas patrons. Officials said they expected a similar pattern this year.
Organizers are promising the usual wide range of mouthwatering meals and variety of alcoholic beverages served in the VIP area.
Prices for the Reggae on the Hill show range from $90 to $150, while the VIP ticket costs $300. (MM)