Sting, regarded as the most prestigious dancehall show worldwide since its inception in 1983, will not be held in 2016, according to show organizers, Supreme Promotions.
Speculation surrounding the possible staging of Sting 2016 had intensified in recent weeks as there was little promotion, no activity on the shows social media pages and no annual launch event. With Boxing Day – Sting’s annual stage date – less than two weeks away, Supreme Promotions head Isaiah Laing and manager/booking agent Junior ‘Heavy D’ Fraser confirmed to CVM OnStage on Tuesday that the show is indeed off.
According to both men, the lack of headline acts available have hurt the chances of putting together a proper show.
“Last two, three years, the headline (artist) is just never there to me, so there was no crowd” Fraser said. “Since Kartel gone, the headline move….yes you will have 50 artistes to work, but if you don’t have two (main ones), the 48 don’t count. The ones who are hot now are not interested.”
“Sting was not built up like this,” Laing said. “Over the years when you come to Sting, you find the hottest artistes. You have 20 or 30 artistes that are really pulling crowds, that’s not happening any more. You have to depend on three or four artistes now, it cannot work.”
Laing revealed that Supreme Promotions has not made a profit from the show since 2008, the year Vybz Kartel and Mavado clashed each other. He and Heavy D conceded that it has become difficult to book artistes of repute as they have turned it down either over financial disagreements or receiving overseas shows. Additionally, sponsorship has been lacking, making it even more difficult to fund the show.
However, Laing believes a lot of artistes are intimidated by the Sting crowd because of its reputation for being tough on performers, at times throwing bottles and other projectiles on stage when displeased with a set.
“It is known worldwide that Sting is the hardest audience to please cause if you put your wrong foot forward from the first song out of your mouth, you get the boo or the bottle,” Laing said. He also chastised sponsors for not catering to the largely middle and lower class fan base.
As for the future of the Sting show, Laing said the show as we know it is dead, but will be revamped in an international format. The show will be rebranded in 2017 featuring artistes in dancehall, reggae and several other genres, with a premiere in London slated for next summer.
There also are talks to host a gospel version of Sting in the near future.
This year, Supreme Promotions will award various entertainers who have contributed to the show’s growth over its 33 year existence, including Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Ninja Man, Marion Hall (formerly Lady Saw) and more.