Fresh Fest 2017 set records for Toronto dancehall stage show attendance when close to 14,000 fans turned out at Woodbine Mall in Rexdale (Toronto) to see Alkaline, Mavado and Jahmiel. It was a crazy evening from all points of view, and now that time has passed, promoters can finally breathe a sign of relief that it is all behind them with relatively little damage caused by the chaos and disorganization that came with the responsibility of producing such a high-caliber event. If you were there early, the show may have seemed worth it in the end, but while there were 14,000 people inside, many were left locked out (advance ticket holders included) due to over capacity and and an inability by promoters, security and police to handle a crowd of that magnitude.
In the end, after hours of having to wait patiently, the show would go on, Jahmiel first, followed by Alkaline, with Mavado passing through. When it came to showtime, promoters, staff, and security, despite their efforts, could not get the 200 people who thought they were VIPs, dignitaries and royalty, to move off the artists stage. It was a security risk for Alkaline and Mavado to perform under those circumstances, but they did it anyway, and in the space what seemed like no more than 30 minutes, the edited version of Fresh Fest had ended (Jahmiel went on way earlier and was able to do a full and proper show) leaving some satisfied, but others questioning if they had indeed gotten their money’s worth.
Some (young) people who are built to endure these type of crazy events may tell you the Fresh Fest experience was completely awesome, others with viewpoints on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, may tell you the show fell short on delivery and was not worth the price of admission. Still, you can’t please all of the dancehall people all of the dancehall time. Big up Rodeo Promo for the effort, and for pulling off the show in the end. Things could’ve gone smoother yes, but in the end all three headline artists performed, nobody got hurt, and up to 17,000 Black people were able to gather outdoors in on of Toronto’s so-called bad-man zones and not even one shot let off! That’s a stat to be proud of, especially when you’re Black! Enjoy our short video.
Pics and Video by Ron Nelson