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Like A Champion!

Buju Banton aims to fill Nat'l Stadium

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter

Friday, January 18, 2019

THE management for Grammy-winning deejay Buju Banton is confident that the National Stadium in St Andrew will be filled to capacity for the March 16 concert to start his Long Walk to Freedom Tour.

The stadium is rarely used for entertainment events. The last major show of this nature held there was the Arthur Guinness Day concert about nine years ago. Prior to that, Beres Hammond utilised a section of the facility for his Moment In Time concert. Sting was also held twice at the stadium on Boxing Day. The iconic One Love Peace Concert took place there in 1978.

The 57-year-old facility is said to seat 35,000.

Buju Banton's publicist Ronnie Tomlinson noted that his team wants to create an iconic moment.

“We're creating history. What better venue? So many things happened and have taken place at that venue, so we just thought 'Why not?' Plus, it's also to show the power of the music, and the power of the love that people have for Buju. We never for a moment thought that we could not fill the Stadium... not for one moment did we ever doubt it, but we were just looking at the symbolisms behind it,” she said

“The feedback is great. People just want to get everything. They are ready to book flights, book hotels, get everything in place for March 16 in Kingston. We have been inundated with calls, emails, whatsapp messages with people just wanting all the information so they can prepare themselves for this historic concert. The interest from all over the world has just been amazing,” Tomlinson added.

Some persons who attended Wednesday's launch of the Long Walk to Freedom Tour at Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew left feeling devoid of details.

Organisers are still keeping names of the supporting acts close to their chest, noting that it will be released in the coming weeks.

It was revealed that Buju Banton will perform for 90 minutes of the four-hour show. Gates to the National Stadium will open at 4:00 pm and the show is slated to start at 8:00 pm. Once inside the venue, patrons will be treated to a Reggae Village experience with music and food ahead of the concert. Following the performances, there will be an after-party at nearby Mas Camp.

Buju Banton was not present at the launch. However, in a recorded video message he thanked his supporters and expressed his anticipation for the concert.

“First and foremost, I want to thank you all for coming out tonight. I want to thank you all for taking time from your busy schedule to be here with us. I want to thank our sponsors, those who saw it fitting to come together in the spirit of unity to make something of this magnitude happen here in Jamaica. I want to thank those in the media... print, radio, television, for their love and support over the years, and especially at this time. On the 16th of March, the National Stadium will be a venue like no other. So many years since I've seen my people and we have exchanged communication spiritually, mystically, and on the 16th of March we endeavour to reconnect and pick up where we left off. I'll be there and I want to make sure that I see you there.... my love goes out to all. Thank you very much for your love and support. Until I see you in the National Stadium on the 16th of March,” he said.

Buju Banton (given name Mark Myrie) was arrested on cocaine charges in 2009 and given a mandatory 10-year sentence in 2011. He was however, deported to Jamaica on December 7, 2018.

Days after his conviction, Buju Banton won a Grammy Award for his album Before Dawn.

Similar concerts are planned for The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, and St Kitts.

* See related story on Page 7