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'$50K spent on Bunji Garlin is money gone' - Eustace C. Freeman aka ‘Boss’

- said ‘$50K spent on local is an investment; Territory still struggling to understand VI Festival is not carnival or music festival
Local musician and promoter Eustace C. Freeman aka ‘Boss’has said past and present leaders of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC) have struggled to understand that the Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival is neither a carnival nor a music festival. Photo: Facebook
Contestants of the Calypso Competition held as part of the 65th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival. Photo: VINO
Contestants of the Calypso Competition held as part of the 65th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival. Photo: VINO
Local fungi band Razor Blades performing at the 65th Emancipation Festival at the Prime Time Festiville in Road Town. Photo: VINO
Local fungi band Razor Blades performing at the 65th Emancipation Festival at the Prime Time Festiville in Road Town. Photo: VINO
A large crowd gathered at the Carrot Bay Festiville for the stage show featuring Trinidadian Soca artiste, Machel Montano on August 9, 2019. Photo: VINO
A large crowd gathered at the Carrot Bay Festiville for the stage show featuring Trinidadian Soca artiste, Machel Montano on August 9, 2019. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- As post-mortems on the just concluded 65th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival continue, a local musician and promoter has said past and present leaders of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC) have struggled to understand that the Virgin Islands Festival is neither a carnival nor a music festival.

Eustace C. Freeman aka ‘Boss’, speaking on August 16, 2019 during a live Facebook stream on the JTV page, said the territory has lost too much and the blame must be shouldered by the present and past members of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC).

“The Festival and Fairs committee needs to sit back and revamp and really analyse how they are going forward with our festivities…We have lost so much that we should be holding on to as it relates to our heritage.”

Mr Freeman noted that the current state of affairs seems to be about who can bring the biggest artiste. “And we hear it from time to time. It seems like a big competition between East End and Carrot Bay and Road Town, who could get the biggest artiste and people just killing us.”

The musician added that it is the love local entertainers have for country and their art form that they “hug-up and kiss up” with the committee yearly in the hope that changes will come. “And we are yet to see it.”

Not a carnival or music festival

Freeman said for some years he has been analysing the issues that arise year after year at Emancipation Festival and has concluded that the leaders of festival are struggling to understand the celebration is a “Festival” and not a “Carnival” or a “Music Festival”.

“We find ourselves trying to compete with different countries as far as carnival is concerned and we really need to come to the realisation that the only difference between our festival or any other country’s carnival is their culture and your culture, believe it or not. If you don’t understand, it starts with your food, your music, your sound, the way you carry yourself.”

Mr Freeman added the territory’s entertainers should be centre stage. “That is supposed to be our selling point.”

And according to him, “We have to take the time to invest in our locals…$50, 000 spent on a local is an investment, $50, 000 spent on Bunji Garlin is money gone. We need to realise that and put the money where the mouth is.”

The post-mortem continues.

14 Responses to “'$50K spent on Bunji Garlin is money gone' - Eustace C. Freeman aka ‘Boss’”

  • Fat Head (18/08/2019, 11:39) Like (50) Dislike (15) Reply
    It was ok when his party was doing the same but now it’s a problem

    Set of bold face hypothesis who cannot get over the 2019 election

    The new festival committee did a marvelous job
    • Dr cool (18/08/2019, 17:10) Like (27) Dislike (15) Reply
      That’s what I don’t like with we tolians where that politics coming from u think the vip will stay there forever the man speaks his mind he said the past and present festival and fairs Committee members not politicians
      • Sick Of It (19/08/2019, 13:20) Like (20) Dislike (1) Reply
        Them don't practice.. They cant stay together for long..Them don't have them own band members. They can't entertained. They too fat, they can't move. Every year same best same style same melody they are very monotonous.. Won't get a song writer or an arranger to get a different sound to expand. . Yet just because them is local they deserve more money. Joke..That's the mentality... Ask ecstasy getting Ellie Matt to arrange on their Album was the best thing happened to them...Ecstacy was the BVI best ever they use to practice 3 4 days a week. They became good because they put the time and resources in to become big. .. Local bands need to copy that model.. Brass is still relevant if you can make them sound good... Time.. Effort. Hard work. Staying together...
    • always (19/08/2019, 07:27) Like (17) Dislike (3) Reply
      Always got to bring politics? You did not understand his point because you too political. You really a follower, no leadership in you.
  • dude (18/08/2019, 11:45) Like (50) Dislike (3) Reply
    Boss makes some good pts but Bunji is also a draw and business is supply & demand so when the local artist music gets regional & then global then they can demand those prices b/c there will be a market for them that justifies it. You can't knock to tin pan together for your friends and expect grammy prices....BVI needs to up it's game to intl standards

    But Boss makes some good points still
  • Management (18/08/2019, 12:47) Like (38) Dislike (4) Reply
    The BVI artist lacking Discipline and too much self management. They want big money but don’t have the hits to attract the crowds. We can be 100% BVI and still be international. Everyone to big to sell CD’s on the side of the road and instead of taken advantage of opportunities they abuse the opportunity. Bunji eared his big money, Rock City eared their big money etc. The drive for this demand about getting the biggest artist is hyped by a society of uneducated people. They have a huge influence and it caused a huge Frenzy! Until we learn from the mistakes we have have bigger issues in 2020.

    1) proper management
    2) Discipline
    3) professional service
    4) Be themselves (organic)
  • watcher (18/08/2019, 16:59) Like (33) Dislike (13) Reply
    Boss go sit down from trying to be relevant stick with the pancakes
    • Pancake (19/08/2019, 03:27) Like (18) Dislike (8) Reply
      Lmao @stick with the pancakes
      lol lol lol
      • Sue (19/08/2019, 08:33) Like (7) Dislike (8) Reply
        I have all the respect in the world for Boss but right is right and wrong is wrong. When you speak about local band and money you speaking nonsense, you can compare yourself to Binji really boss, the only band been hearing all year is VIBES. ShowTime only came out close to festival time, I am still trying to figure out how they tie with Vibes got road match I don’t know still trying to find out. On regards to Binji , Boss that band earns its name they didn’t just get to the top they earned the top, stop comparing, stop watching you so far from reaching the top go market your band and improved yourself, work your way to where the same Bunji is at. take voice training in music do things to improve yourself and the band show time and you will work your way to the top. A few years ago the village make some changes to put the local band last to closed the village that was the worst mistake guess what after the international acts people gone village empty. Put the local band first in the village empty again, Here’s my advise to you stick with teaching spot yes good pancakes paradise yes sah great, music no your voice is terrible that’s not your field stay in your lane me a beg you no go there.
  • blah (18/08/2019, 19:40) Like (25) Dislike (3) Reply
    I agree to some degree with Boss and the guys about investing more in the local bands but the problem is much deeper than that. Festival is a celebration of freedom but also has become a business as well. The festival committee have to pay the entertainers. I'm sure they would prefer to lowball the overseas artist as well if they could get away with it. The booth owners pay a lot to have a booth. They also have to pay for the supplies to build the booth, labor and the liquor and food to sell. The festival committee and booth owners rely greatly on a large crowd for their success. Not enough Locals and especially expats support our local bands it's just a fact. The first thing everybody do when the lineup is announced is look to see who the performers will be and guess what hardly anybody is looking forward to the local bands. The bands have not done enough to establish themselves or produce hits outside of the BVI. Whether they perform early or late it doesn't matter because their music will speak for themselves. Not enough people are not going to spend $20-$30 to hear the local artist. There have been a few times that the local artist have performed last and as soon as the headlining artist finish the crowd leaves the center and head to the bar or they lose interest and go elsewhere. There is just not enough interest or support from locals in the local bands, The same people that support your cause verbally or to support the "put locals first" catchphrase are not going to fill the festival grounds like a Buju or Machel or Popcaan. Most people also go out looking for a crowd whether the music good or not. If the word gets out that an artist only have a small crowd they lose interest.
  • Yuh right Boss (19/08/2019, 09:54) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    But hear this, you can talk until the cows come home and the bleeding will continue until the thing dies. Sometimes people are too concerned about their appearance to others/outsiders/onlookers to do the right thing. Image, image, is what they are concerned about. As an acquaintance of mine said, he would rather drop down from hunger than to drop down looking bad. Sad to say, this is the mindset of many of our organizers/festival committee members.
  • big question (19/08/2019, 12:28) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply

    when his bouy mvw was feeding him he was quiet like a church cockroach in fact he has no credibility now!!!! go from here Mr............

  • If True (19/08/2019, 13:20) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    That much money for one artist is reckless and irresponsible spending... We need to have a spending cap for Artist Nothing more than $30.000 take it or leave it and we need at lease one and a half hour performance... I prefer listening to a good band from around the Caribbean that playing music than most of these artist you could hardly hear or understand what they saying. They never sing a whole song. Some thing one line they out of breath. Get us more bands that playing music... Pay locals more. Challenge locals to come better, practice and stay together because when they do they will rewarded...Reward local bands that stays together and active for long. Discourage people nock up something for Festival to make a money and call it a band. .. Boss been at this for long ... Kudos. Stay with it. It will worth it in the end.
    • blah (19/08/2019, 16:34) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      It is reckless if you pay that to a local who won’t generate a profit in return. The night of Popcaan had more than 3000 people multiply that by the cost of a ticket which was $30 that is $90,000 and many people paid $40 at the gate like myself. Challenging locals to come out don’t pay the bills. They have been challenging locals for decades. You can’t force people to like what they don’t want to like.


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