AS he prepares to launch the 23rd staging of his Western Consciousness show, promoter Worrell King has bemoaned the lack of support from the Westmoreland business community.
King told the Observer that while it initially attracted endorsement and some funding from the Jamaica Tourist Board, Western Consciousness has largely been a labour of love in recent years.
“We get no support from the business community, especially in Negril. Our biggest support comes from individuals who want to see positive music promoted,” King said.
He stated that Western Consciousness has failed to find a major backer since Guinness withdrew financial support due to ‘financial constraints’.
Given the focus of his show, King believes sponsors should be knocking at his door.
“It’s a hypocritical thing, because there are many other events down here [Westmoreland] with negative vibes getting support,” he said.
“I can’t tell people how to spend their money but consciousness provides an alternative to the slackness and violence I see at some stage shows,” King added.
Western Consciousness 2012 is scheduled for April 14 at Paradise Park in Smithfield, Westmoreland. Its banner, ‘Impacting Reggae’s New Generation’, is built around the new wave of roots-reggae artistes like Duane Stephenson, Prophecy and Iba Mahr.
Veterans including Beres Hammond and London-based singers Levi Roots and King Sounds will also be on the show.
From the 1970s to the mid-1990s, Negril was a hot spot for live music with fans packing venues like Tiger’s Café, De Buss and MXIII to see top reggae acts. Dwindling crowds were partially responsible for the closure or scaling down of live shows at those locations.
The last five years, however, have seen a resurgence of Negril nightlife thanks largely to the Dream Weekend and ATI events which are held in July.
King first staged Western Consciousness in 1988 at the Llandilo Cultural Centre in Westmoreland. Three years ago, he moved it to the larger Paradise Park.