The curtains closed on the Pure Grenada Music Festival (PGMF) on the Port Louis lawn for the third year. The organisers of the event must be commended for the initiative to once again host a premier music festival at an international standard in order to attract local, regional and international patrons.
It is without a doubt that the efforts of the earlier pioneers such as Steve Duncan, promoter of Rock D’ Spice and Preston Holas aka “Ras Dakari certainly paved the way to open the eyes of many to the potential for Grenada to be the home for an event of this nature.
The staging of a festival of this magnitude is no easy feat so my commentary is not to discredit the efforts but rather share my observations to support the growth of what I see as a must have event on Grenada’s calendar.
The experience of ticketing, arrivals, ushering, and ambiance have been winners for the PGMF, but the significant missing link is the choice of the entertainment. Over the past 3 years we have hosted Grammy award winning artists who have played to sold out stadiums across the world, performing for a few hundred people on a sparsely populated festival ground. This naturally begs the question: Are we really trying to attract local patrons?
While eventually in addition to our local audience we want to attract hundreds if not thousands of visitors from beyond our shores to partake in the PGMF, the first and most logical audience are local Grenadians who can easily access the festival. So the choice of artists must appeal to a wide cross section.
My understanding is this event has received significant input from the Government of Grenada and Grenada Tourism Authority, so I think it is incumbent upon us all to ensure our hard earned dollar is garnering the type of output to justify the ongoing investment.
Without a doubt Friday and Saturday should be the largest nights of the festival and must include an entertainment package to match that expectation. One night cannot carry the other two nights of meager attendance. While it is evident that one of the objectives is to provide a different type of entertainment that crosses many genres of music, event organisers must take stock and select entertainers that are familiar to the audience so people can justify spending their limited disposable income on a three night package instead of simply deciding on one night because they know the music of that particular artist.
Not withstanding the very real cost that is associated with bringing in big ticket superstars, there are still a wide cross section of more familiar names in the R&B genre for example who may no longer be a big brand name but has under their belt music that is attractive and familiar to a local audience and don’t necessarily command the larger performance fees.
The Reggae Night has proven to be the most popular night with the likes of Etana, Queen Ifrica, Third World and Morgan Heritage. Soul Night has consistently struggled to meet the audience and similar to Caribbean Night which I expect should be the easiest night but we continue to miss the mark with the choice of performers.
I therefore implore on the organisers of the PGMF to get to know your local audience, and seek their direction in your entertainment choices. If you truly engage your audience you will certainly garner the rewards of larger attendance that is worthy of the significant organising efforts and expense put into staging the PGMF.
Music Festival Fan