Although a decision is yet to be made in incarcerated deejay Vybz Kartel’s appeal, loyal fans are still hanging on to the possibility that the deejay could walk free.
Should he obtain his freedom, fans would be looking forward to a huge celebratory concert.
But, with the National Stadium having been tested earlier this year following Buju Banton’s Long Walk to Freedom concert, and the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex also facing capacity issues last weekend for Reggae Sumfest, music insiders say it seems highly unlikely that one concert would suffice for Kartel.
Producer Notnice expressed that at least two concerts would need to be held.
“It would be the biggest concert Jamaica ever see. All Buju woulda come. Dem woulda affi keep one Friday at the National Stadium and one Saturday at Catherine Hall. People from all bout woulda come to this. Flights to Jamaica woulda gone up, hotel bookings woulda gone up, everybody woulda want a piece a it,” he said.
Michael Dawson, Kartel’s business partner and co-author of his book, The Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto, said that although he has not heard of any concert plans should Kartel be freed, it would be a massive show.
“He would definitely have to do one in town and one in Montego Bay. I don’t see how he could do one show. If you look on Buju show, you had so many people who turned up and if you look at Kartel’s demographic, you have a much larger number of persons who are 35 and under and if you just use that factor alone, it’s going to be huge. Stadium couldn’t hold,” he said.
Dawson said that a successful Kartel appeal would give a euphoric feeling that at least an ‘ordinary man’ could get justice.
“And it (a concert) would be a celebration of that. I can’t remember when the last time someone who was not ‘of the system’ in Jamaica was freed, and so that, should it happen, would be a special moment. It would show people that justice is not just for some people,” he said.
When asked if Kartel would be open to the idea of hosting a concert should he be freed, Dawson said Kartel has always been a man for the people and would do just about anything to please his fans.
Professor Donna Hope said that aside from being a massive concert, a Kartel freedom event would be an unforgettable moment in music history.
“It would be a moment music lovers would want to witness. Although the event would be different from Buju’s concert in terms of the connection Buju had with his fans versus the connection Kartel had with his following, it still would be a very big deal. Kartel’s fans aren’t as starved as Buju’s fans were because he remains connected even from behind bars. But people will still be flying out from all corners of the world for it,” she said.
Dawson believes that attracting sponsors would not be an issue. He explained that regardless of the nature of the charges for which he was convicted, sponsors would have no choice but to treat him as a free man.
“If he is freed, he would be an innocent person and if you’re innocent, I don’t think corporate Jamaica should impede on your ability to host such an event,” he said. “He should have no issues there but this is Jamaica so let’s see. Before he went in he had good relationships with corporate Jamaica so let’s see.”