RED LABEL Wine East Fest 2006 ended in the crash and splinter of a barrage of bottles thrown at the stage, as well as the sound booth in the middle of the bulk of the huge audience, at 6:20 a.m. on Saturday.
The bottles came at the announcement that Bounty Killer would not be performing at the Goodyear Oval, Springfield, St. Thomas, that morning. Anticipation for his appearance had been high, as earlier when Morgan Heritage were wrapping up their performance with How Come there were shouts as they named some of who were to come, using the term ‘up next’ to refer to all who were to follow. Included in the ‘up next’ were Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Assassin and Turbulence, for whom the audience cheered. They ended the list by saying “We have waited too long to bring this brother back to East Fest. Bounty Killer is up next.”
The audience roared.
However, after Elephant Man had ended a 17-minute showing of snatches of song with ‘Willy Bounce’, with only one major performer named in the ‘up next’ to perform, MC Richie B made the bottle-bringing announcement. “As an MC and a promoter you face certain challenges. It is my duty to inform you that Bounty Killer will not be performing. He was here earlier and had to catch a flight,” he said.
“Please nuh throw no bottle. This is East Fest,” he said.
The fusillade was not immediate, as persons in the VIP area in front of the stage started walking away, some hurrying though in anticipation of trouble. Many persons in the bulk of the audience started walking away as well, but about 20 seconds after the announcement a single dark bottle was hurled at the stage. It was the opening shot of the onslaught, those remaining in the VIP area taking cover underneath the stand a camera was set up on. The bottle throwers turned their attention to the sound booth, two men on the upper level scurrying for cover and then lying flat to wait out the onslaught.
As The Gleaner was leaving the oval, a man held up a promotional flyer for Reggae Camp Fire, slated for New Year’s Eve at the Ewarton Sports Club in St. Catherine, and demanded “How Bounty a fly out an’ him dey a Camp Fia tonight?”
-Mel Cooke, Freelance Writer, Jamaica Gleaner