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Forget the blame game; get the ‘music on par’- David Thomas

- tells VI entertainers to step up their game rather than bicker
A local entertainer, band manager and businessman, Mr David Thomas has urged local entertainers to stop the blame game and work together on bettering their music in order to reap the rewards at the level they so desire. Photo: Team of Reporters
Local bands have constantly complained of being unfairly treated by the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC) over the years. Some of them have demanded to be regarded as the feature entertainers on stage shows and that more monies are paid to them. Photo: VINO/File
Local bands have constantly complained of being unfairly treated by the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC) over the years. Some of them have demanded to be regarded as the feature entertainers on stage shows and that more monies are paid to them. Photo: VINO/File
Local band VIBE performing during the August Monday Monday Parade in Road Town on August 5, 2019. Photo: VINO
Local band VIBE performing during the August Monday Monday Parade in Road Town on August 5, 2019. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A local entertainer, band manager and businessman has urged local entertainers to stop the blame game and work together on bettering their music in order to reap the rewards at the level they so desire.

David Thomas offered the advice when on August 16, 2019 he sat among a panel of entertainers resident in the Virgin Islands (VI), most of who constantly complain of being unfairly treated by the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee (VIF&FC) over the years.

According to Mr Thomas, he is one that is constantly on the backs of VI entertainers/musicians to produce and promote new music, “Because if you don’t put it out it is really hard for the public to jump behind us in what we are doing.”

Noting that his comments are made out of nothing but love for the craft and those in the music industry in the territory, Mr Thomas said musicians have to work harder than anyone else to “make sure that our music is on par or better.”

‘We all not on the same level’

“All of us are not on the same level, sorry, it’s just facts, that’s just the way it is,” which took him to reflecting how hard it was for him to judge the Soca Monarch Competition because, “I was so just, turned off is probably too strong of a word, let’s just use turned off by a lot of the stuff that I heard that night musically.”

Mr Thomas was also of the opinion that some of the music by local artistes are better than most around the Caribbean, “The problem is that they [the public] just don’t hear it early enough and often enough.”

He recalled the days of Systems [band] raising their own funds by doing fish fries, “We use to just pull up in a parking lot and just have a jam and that’s what we use to do and what I realise is that we don’t see a lot of that happening anymore.”

Mr Thomas hastened to say that musicians in the Virgin Islands need to come to grips with what they are doing, as he threw a hard ball to those complaining of being unfairly treated, especially at Festival season. “We can’t always look at the ‘BEEF’.

He recounted the days of Systems and Prime Time band, who was this year’s honouree. “The one thing about Systems and Prime Time back in the days, while we would have battled on the road, we all were best of friends, facts, all the time, ‘Chicken’ could have come to me, anybody could have come to me. Everybody use to literally meet with each other, sit and have drinks and then discuss musical ideas, that what we use to do.”

Mr Thomas said that is the missing link among bands of today, “And it’s the kind of thing that needs to happen now.”

14 Responses to “Forget the blame game; get the ‘music on par’- David Thomas”

  • VIlander (20/08/2019, 14:35) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    For a community like ours Music should be mandatory part of the school curriculum. And we need to provide a small recording studio and entertainment arts center for the students so we can have our own plays & tv shows of our own culture. I remember there was a tv show in the 80's with local children, can't remember the name. But this would keep the things going and improving every yr and give an abundance of talent to our disposal.
    • @ VIslander (20/08/2019, 15:30) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
      Do you live on Tortola or you are just writing for so. Music is being taught in the schools, you cannot tell people children what to do. are you going to buy the instruments. Not everyone is musically inclined. Outta all Order.
    • Hit the nail on the head (20/08/2019, 17:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ VIlander

      The problem is not the availability of talent, it is the quality of the music, the timeliness and frequency of the music throughout the year to entice patrons to attend events throughout the year and at festival time and which will give reason to government to invest more monies in payments to the bands during festival.

      The bands are in denial that the same makeup of the labour force, is the same make up of the crowds to the festivities. I call it like I see it and I am a multigenerational virgin islander from the East, and remembered when the BVI bands attracted crowds at the East End Festival as well as at the Road Town one.

      I empathize with the bands, but we have to recognize the shortcomings and do something about it.

      The trend of government spending huge sums with international artistes will not change as the statistics do not lie.

      Which bands attracts the crowd?
      What is the makeup of the patrons to the festivities?
      How many band events are put on throughout the year and by whom?
      Who attend those events?
      Whose songs are the local DJs playing in order to make a living?

      By answering these questions truthfully, may help you find your way to be better and bigger next year.
  • Hit the nail on the head (20/08/2019, 14:47) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    David you could not have said it any better.

    Even though I am not a band follower now, I remembered from my high school days of the Sunday beach picnics with bands at Beef Island Long Bay Beach, and the many tramps and fish fries months in advance of the festival.

    The repetitive plays and months in advance of music before festival and the clash of the bands at jouvert or rise and shine tramp, and at the parade are what attracted the patrons to the village. VI bands are in denial that that is the formula.

    To get back to basics, a possible back-to-school jam on Friday, August 30, 2019 which is a pay day, and every holiday weekend or a weekend that is a government Friday pay day. I think there is a coronation event at Scrub Island for Ms. World BVI on the same night or that weekend. Bands come out with a new dance, a new design on a T-shirt, bring a theme from the political happenings of the day (but tasteful...please), a raffle of a car and other prizes to be drawn at Christmas.

    To be fair to the bands, I must consider that it takes money to operate a band and ways of fundraising are not easy, especially, for travel and producing a single and even more for an album. The bands would need to incorporate and develop supporting businesses to the band such as a store, restaurant and bar, rental properties, party boat with a new theme each time, motel, etc, or any other viable business that would generate cash to their music business., or a monetized Youtube channel offering a service where thousands of views generate funds.

    It is time to think outside the box.

    This is the time to plan your itinerary at least one year in advance to open for other bands in the other Caribbean countries at clubs or open air venues, even at Caribbean Parades on Labour Day in New York, in UK and Canada.

    This move could be a start to a new beginning.
  • Just saying (20/08/2019, 15:05) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
    Every looser trying to be relevant next!
    • THE TRUTH HURTS (20/08/2019, 18:31) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      He 100% correct and quite relevat but it’s much easier to shoot the messenger than really listen to his message.
  • Agree (20/08/2019, 15:21) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    David I agree with you 100%. The local bands need vast improvement. Additionally they appear to only make music the want to be heard in the BVI. When they perform the diction and clarity of the singers is awful and arrangement leaves much to be desired. Instead of competing amongst themselves they need to group and form one or two GOOD BVI bands. Don’t they realize aside from St Thomas they aren’t invited overseas, that’s because no one else wants to hear their jumbled crap. Bands take a page from the books of legends like Biron Lee, Short Shirt, Immigration to name a few. They were desired internationally.
  • Hit the nail on the head (20/08/2019, 17:46) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    @Agree. I do agree with you that the vocals are not as clear because the music is too loud. Bands you have to work on that.
  • oh gosh (20/08/2019, 21:36) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Looks like people getting tired of the same old basic ratchet music and looking for substance.
    • Choices . (27/08/2019, 07:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I like to hear good horns.. Jam Band.. Ecstacy.. Immaginations.. I guess the new crowd dont like horns no more and its a cuatomer driven business like any other business. As for me It's only Cool sessions gets me to the village... U see horns call for plenty practice.. These now a days musicians are not into that... A good musician friend of mine always say. Its better to play six songs good even if you have to play them long or repeat them strategically. Is much better than playing 20 songs and none sounds good.. .So many young people benefit from musical scholarship tax payers money. Trumpeters trombonist saxophonist.. Upon return they make no contribution.. Why can't they link up or form something special. Then again they don't have the time to practice. .. Girls are the enemy of musicians.. The love for music have to be strong. Really strong to succeed...They days of Brass arama use to pull big crowds but those bands without horns find away to kill it using their friends and connection in high places to kill it. Why couldn't we had a brassarama band with brass and a comborama bands without brass . instead of killing one to please the other find away to incorporate all...Good for musical improvement..We would have been at a better place today.
  • Boss (21/08/2019, 00:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I love me some VIBE.
  • WHAT!!! (21/08/2019, 08:49) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Local bands would be better if you could hear melody and vocals , distorted high volume and thumping bass are not music.
  • too much talent.. (27/08/2019, 07:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Never see such small place with so much so bands. They don't want to practice. They think practice is a waists. They are greedy for money. They always late. They don't show up at lease 1 hr before their Gig to make sure their sound is right. As they Biggin to sound good they become head swollen and boastful. They are judge of their own music .. I know a good entertainer song writer singer would drop lines of teasers see how the crowd reacts then put a song together on what the fans like. .

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