I had a good time at Jambana! Good thing I had to arrive early as I heard way too many stories about how long it took to get in and out of Markham Fair Grounds. That aside, the event was a solid success in my opinion and the numbers were there (attendance wise) for Jones & Jones Productions to secure the grounds for next year’s event. It was just great to see such a massive congregation of people, united not by color or race, but, by music and culture originating from Canada and the Caribbean. The promoter couldn’t have asked for better weather – blue skies and sunshine. This helped make the Jambana experience!
Overall, things ran pretty smoothly – every artist, MC and hired hand who was scheduled to perform and/or work showed up and did what they were required to do without any major hiccups. I heard through the grapevine that there were a few guest artistes surprises in store for the massive, but, due to the traffic conditions (wait time to get in to the grounds and parking), they wouldn’t have made it on time. Next year, I hope they have a plan in place when it comes to street access and entering (parking) and exiting the grounds. The York Regional Police were in force directing the exiting traffic, but, some routes had been closed off (for what reason I do not know) causing bumper to bumper traffic and making it hard for anyone to exit in a timely fashion. It took some people over an hour to finally exit Markham Fair Grounds.
Parking was also an issue – $15 to park and not enough spaces. Drivers had little choice but to park on either side of the surrounding roads and/or local farmers fields. Another thing worth mentioning, the lack of garbage cans around the venue. There were a few here and there, but, not nearly enough for the amount of people expected. They were not properly place either. People had to walk far just to come across one and there wasn’t even one garbage can placed in and around the porta potties. Let’s hope this and the aforementioned get corrected for next year’s festivities!
Big Up all the performers, including Yellowman – who successfully topped the night off with a very energetic performance which the crowd loved! Nadine Sutherland was a different story – the crowd didn’t enjoy her show and had no problems telling her so when she addressed them and asked if they wanted to hear more. Even though many could be heard shouting “nooo”, Nadine, being the experienced pro that she is quickly replied “thank you” and proceeded to finish her show as planned. Ironically, Nadine performed very well in my opinion, but, her set was too long and she slid in a new R&B song she recently penned and the massive just wasn’t having it as it was the Reggae vibe that they were after. Yellowman was who the people wanted to see, Nadine was just a formality.
Big Up the Dynamic Dragonaires – a crowd favourite even without the late great Byron Lee (R.I.P.)! This band was tight and very entertaining! They played two sets and packed a powerful punch! Both sets featured the two lead singers in rotation – they performed original Dragonaires material as well as some covers of Reggae and Soca hits that still stand the test of time. Jambana wouldn’t have been the same without them. They have that crossover appeal and had the Jambana crowd in a frenzy throughout both sets. Given that, I hope Jones & Jones Productions invites them back again next year!
I also witnessed the set by Melanie Durrant – all I can say is weak! She was flat and off-key at times and didn’t really establish a connection with the audience. Speaking of…the crowd started to heckle her when it became obvious that she wasn’t up to par. Following Melanie was Ammoye – she put on a great show and earned back the respect of the massive! She, unlike Melanie, had a good performance experience and had the crowds undivided attention thanks to her sweet, smooth vocals and her backup singer. Ammoye came off as a very classy performer with sex appeal. Her set was geared towards a certain ‘vibe’ and even if some of the people didn’t know her music, they still loved her performance.
Big Up Steele – he delivered one of the most energetic shows of the day/night! He was jumping and dancing all around the stage and had the crowd engaged from the time he first stepped on to the stage. Steele is a veteran in this business and he proved it by putting on a heavy show from start to finish. I couldn’t say the same for Eyesus, who, along with Pat Kelly suffered during their sets as the backing band flopped and played the wrong chunes in the wrong order and yes, there were rehearsal sessions! Big Up to Chester Miller as well who performed a flawless tribute to ‘The Crown Prince of Reggae’ – Dennis Emmanuel Brown to the delight of the fans in the crowd! Nkrumah also performed well – his live performances and ‘set’ time will increase as he is given more opportunities – Big Up!
Big Up Jay Martin, Allan Jones, Luther Brown and Delroy G. who took turns MC’ing. Big Up Comedian/MC Oliver Samuels – who is always very funny and entertaining. He commented to the audience that he was “sure to get his money this time” because the venue was so packed. LOL! Big Up Mountain Edge Band who backed most of the artistes on the bill! Last but not least, Big Up Jones & Jones Productions – the team behind Jambana! Here’s to another successful year next year!
Pics by Ron Nelson and Lisa West
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