The 14-day rescindment of event permits sparked by the coronavirus has placed a damper on the local entertainment industry. Party promoters have been postponing events left and right, and entertainers have also been forced to adjust booking schedules as the pandemic virus threatens crowded gatherings.
Among the players affected by the two-week ban are the people behind-the-scenes that help to orchestrate the events – from the event managers, audio engineers, equipment rental companies, lighting experts, to other contractors, like DJs, bartenders and caterers.
“We haffi just do weh we a do and gwaan pray to Fada God.”— Boom Boom
Event manager Matthew Lawrence says there is a feeling of uncertainty among his peers.
“Once these events are cancelled, there’s no income for owners and operators of stage, sound and light, and a lot of them still have permanent staff,” Lawrence told BUZZ. “Until this coronavirus scare goes away and we can get back to some business as usual, it’s going to be hard, as we can’t say for sure that we’re down for a week or two weeks. If the cases skyrocket, we’ll probably be taking a break from events for a month or two depending on how bad it gets.”
Since the announcement of the first reported coronavirus case in Jamaica on Tuesday, Lawrence said he has already lost income.
“I do talent management as well, and I had an artiste booking for a corporate company performance that has been indefinitely postponed, so my commission from that is lost,” he said. “I also had another event put together for another client that was pulled.”
For the weeks to come, Lawrence says players in his field will have to sustain themselves through whatever reserves they have.
“Financial management is key. Everybody should have a little reserve in these times,” he said. “Some of us will have to go into reserves to sustain staff and other bills and expenses. Some people, while they do events, they do other business that can still bring in cash, so power to those people, but those who don’t will have to go into their reserves and manage the little that they have until this is over.”
Selector Boom Boom said he has always encouraged his peers to save. This advice he will literally bank on for the next two weeks.
“This really affects us big time because we make our living off this – dancehall,” Boom Boom told BUZZ. “When we get a 14-day break everything just steps back. Mi always tell di youths dem fi save and always have something to do that in case anything happens you can gwaan do your thing until everything returns to how it used to be.”
“Right now, me wouldn’t advise nobody fi fly out fi entertain cause the thing look a way outside in the world. We haffi just do weh we a do and gwaan pray to Fada God and hope it passes soon,” he added.