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Hard to get foreign $ to pay international acts

...but local acts may benefit
Published: 
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Randy Glasgow Productions’ (RGP) chief cook and bottle washer believes that mega international summer concerts are a thing of the past. He said: “I would say yes, they are dead right now. The main problem facing promoters is obtaining foreign currency to pay international artistes. Plus, the current financial climate in our country doesn’t augur well for promoters. I don’t see this changing before the next four-five years.”

Glasgow’s advice on these challenges is: “What promoters need to do for survival is to become creative and use our local stars and whatever emerging talents we can unearth.”

Instead of seeking artistes from overseas to perform locally during the August-September period, Glasgow is staging “a first-time festival” which will be held outside of Port-of-Spain, branded The First Chutney & World Rhythms Festival.

“We are going to the middle of the country, to the National Cricket Centre in Couva,” said Glasgow.

“We will showcase the likes of Mungal Patassar & Pantar, Nigel Rojas & Orange Sky, as well as emerging star Nailah Blackman and her band and, on the chutney side, we will feature KI & The Band, Indar Kanhai, and Drupatee Ramgoonai and the ‘chutney king of the world’ Rakesh Yankaran.”

Glasgow expressed hope that the foreign currency issue would dissolve in the not-too-distant future.

He said: “Once foreign currency is available again, the foreign act I would like to bring to Trinidad is Earth, Wind & Fire for the secular music lovers. On the Indo side I would bring Shahrukh Khan. As far as comedy is concerned, I would go for Russell Peters from Canada.”

Stating that although he believes T&T is blessed with excellent performers, Glasgow added: “I don’t think that there’s any one local artiste who could sell out the stadium in a mega summer concert. It would have to be a combination of artistes and the event would have to have a good, unique concept.

“What is preventing us from staging such a show is that all our top artistes have dedicated themselves to shows in North America and Europe during this period and promoters definitely cannot get a booking with them.”

One of the oldest local promotions outfit in the country is Spektakula Promoters, founded by the late Claude Martineau and his brother Frank. Miami Sound Machine, held at the stadium in 1988, was the most successful international concert Spektakula Promotions has ever staged.

Frank said: “International acts have gotten too expensive for the pockets of the local market. The big name stars are living, but ‘eating a food’ elsewhere, and don’t seem to have T&T too high up on their menu. The logistics right now to stage a mega show in the stadium are way way too high.

“For instance, the police bill for the average event at the stadium is over a hundred grand, plus the fire personnel bill is also exorbitant. That particular issue is a serious one for all promoters.

“There have been incidents of promoters cancelling events because of the police bill.

“There is one time when a priest had to cancel a little fund-raising barbeque in St Ann’s because the police were charging way too much for the parish to make any money with their venture.”

Asked which international superstars he would have liked to bring to Trinidad, Frank said: “Bruno Mars, Drake and Ed Sheeran, without a doubt. They are really big.”

DYING TO SEE

What is the best international act you’ve seen in T&T?

And who would you pay “big” money to see perform today?

​ Charlene Clarke

(event coordinator):

“Maxi Priest. I would pay top dollar now to go see Mariah Carey.”

Joella Corneille

(property manager):

“It was a concert with Barrington Levy and Maxi Priest. The best international artiste I have seen perform is Beyonce. I would pay money to see Beyonce perform again.”

Nicole Albert (public servant):

“Sanchez is the best artiste I have seen perform. I was totally impressed by him as he really gave us our money’s worth. I would pay anything to see Alicia Keys or Bruno Mars perform.”

Mary Sosa (former Miss T&T):

“The two Steel Pulse concerts, in the Savannah and at Spektakula Forum. I really like the old school so I would pay money to see James Ingram.”

​This concludes the
Summer concerts story
(Part 1 was on Monday, July 24)