Michael Barnett – Gleaner

Michael Barnett – Gleaner

Michael Barnett7 Startime Questions

For Michael Barnett From Shereita Grizzle


1. When will the final staging of the show be held? Where will it be?

The Original Startime: Final Chapter will be held on Saturday May 5, 2018 at Mas Camp, National Stadium Complex in Kingston.


2. What prompted the decision to pull the plug on the event after so many years?

Well firstly, it’s been an overwhelming and extremely enjoyable 31 years, and all good things (physically) must come to an end one day. Remember major shows like Reggae Sunsplash, Sting. Jamaica Jazz & Blues …. who would have thought they would be just memories today.

Secondly the cost to promote high-quality live shows in Jamaica today is skyrocketing; cash sponsorship from corporate Jamaica is virtually

non-existent, and we all know shows cannot survive without cash sponsorship. With no guarantee from the weather also, the risks are now far greater for promoters.

Thirdly Startime is a niche concert that focuses on Jamaica’s foundation music and artistes of the ska, rock steady and reggae eras, and a number of the relevant artists who can attract crowds large enough to pay the bills have passed on.

It is proving more difficult to excite and satisfy our Startime core audience – of which surprisingly 35% are under 35 years old – without repeating artists from recent Startime shows.


3. Who will be on the final show in terms of performances?

We have confirmed – Reggae Queen Marcia Griffiths, Lovers rock Prince Sanchez, Horace Andy, Leroy Sibbles, U Roy, Ernie Smith, Boris Gardiner, Cornel Campbell, Xylophone and backing band Lloyd Parks & We The People. We’ve carefully put this line up together, and we’re sure our Startime audience will be totally entertained and fully satisfied.


4. What can fans expect from the final show?

Startime fans and music lovers can expect a high energy promotion locally, overseas and on social media – because many Startime fans have migrated over the years and we’d like for them to return for a grand Startime reunion at Mas Camp on May 5.

Weather permitting, The concert itself will display all the traditions of Startime – detailed organization from the team and all stakeholders including security and the Police, adequate secured parking in the National Stadium Car Park, easy access in and out of the venue, ultra-safe, violence-free surroundings, an on-time start to the concert, a tight and exciting production, thrilling performances from all our Startime artists along with exceptional, authentic backing from Lloyd Parks & We the People, lots of giveaways from our treasured sponsors,

and the well-known “Startime” vibes in the venue will be worth going miles to experience.


5. What about fans that will miss the event, will you ever consider coming back?

Well life is about “never say never”, but the economic climate will have to be more conducive for us promoters of Jamaican music to enable production of financially successful events. We have several proposals in hand to take the show overseas, and my team and I are carefully studying the terms and conditions to ensure that any move we make is satisfactory and beneficial to the artists who may be involved, and us.  By the way no one will have to miss this final, historic staging, as our exclusive television sponsor TVJ will be streaming Startime live overseas via pay-per-view; so if our Startime fans overseas can’t be in the venue … they can watch from the comfort of their living rooms for a nominal charge.


6. So many stage shows have ended in Jamaica in recent times, don’t you think it’s a worrying trend?

Most of the shows that have disappeared from the Jamaican scene over the years feature Jamaican music and that is unacceptable.

It is an established fact that stage shows in Jamaica cannot survive without some cash input from corporate Jamaica and maybe the government to a lesser extent, and this is just not happening.

It is a serious concern of mine that soca events, the whole carnival movement and the red-hot party scene is quietly taking over Jamaica’s entertainment landscape at the expense of live reggae music, and they are attracting all of the corporate cash dollars.

Sometimes I wonder if all of these corporate entities are getting their ‘pound of flesh’ in terms of advertising mileage and exposure, when there are so many of them attached to any one event, while Jamaican events like Startime with a recognized tradition of excellence are suffocating from lack of cash support (emphasis on cash).

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not against soca and carnival activities … they have a place in society ….

However I believe quality Jamaican events (emphasis on quality), should have pride of place when sponsorship dollars are disbursed here in Jamaica.


7. What do you think is the main reason behind so many events calling it quits?

Artist fees have skyrocketed, and along with the other costs to stage a proper concert, they are unable to attract large enough audiences for a promoter to break even and/or make a profit.

I can only speak to events that maintain a high standard of quality …. monetary sponsorship is lacking, therefore most promoters start off in the red.

The crime monster is another major factor …. entertainment lovers are staying home more often than in previous years, for fear of losing their lives or property.

We’d like to thank our valued Startime co-sponsors, who so far have totally contributed products or services like Kool 97FM, Chung’s Catering Service, Christar Villas Hotel, Catherine’s Peak Pure Spring Water, Charles Chocolates, MaxMar Graphics & Printing Services Ltd., Independence Park Ltd., Ellco Jamaica Ltd., and Interlinc Communications – host of the startime.com.jm website .….

Those sponsors or who have provided generous reductions on goods and services like  TVJ / RJR 94FM, True Tone, Jamaica Observer, Irie FM, Kingston Hireage, Pure National Ice, Mello FM, A & E Ambulance Service and Securipro Security.

And last but certainly by no means least General Paintings Ltd. and Devon Bourne’s Rubis Station, who have contributed cash.