Rise and Fall


It was a beautiful summer’s evening in Finsbury park.  Everyone was there, different races, ages and fashions.  The bars were spilling out, children were climbing trees and the vibe of celebration hung in the air.  Of course many people were drunk but the mood was totally joyous and the spirit of unity was ever present.  Headliner Jimmy Cliff entered the stage to raptures, immediately encapsulating the day with his classic, ‘Wonderful World, Beautiful People’.  His set was the summation of all that was good about the London community and multi-ethnicity.  “The sun is shining and the food is good, it almost feels like Jamaica”, he smiled  announcing himself to the crowd.  After his speech about natural energy and the need to save earth’s beauty he led the crowd into a glorious sing-along harmony.   This was swiftly followed by an impassioned speech about the destruction of Iraq.

 Cliff was clearly in the mood for political baiting as well as leaving his legacy on this free festival.  Not many artists wish to speak out any more about world issues, so it was a joy to hear an old and greatly respected artist air his views.  His speeches were brilliantly matched by his vocal performance and energy.  Here was an artist who was on fire and ready to play all night…………………Until the sound unexpectedly cut out at about 8.35pm.  Jimmy and his band finished the song they were playing – ‘Rivers of Babylon’ – in silence and walked off the stage, none of the crowd cheered as they thought the band would return shortly afterwards.  No announcements, no explanations.  The crowd were left to stand there and become increasingly annoyed.  These are people that had been drinking all day remember.

The curfew for the event was estimated at 8.30pm.   Jimmy Cliff had his sound cut at about 8.35pm.  He had only been playing for 30 minutes.  Sure we are bound by restrictions and understand the reasoning for compliance.  Not sure though  why the organisers let him carry on for a full 5 minutes longer than the aforementioned curfew?   What a terrible end to a great event.                                                            Some standard rules that should have been adhered to:

  1. If the bands our running over time or the roadies are taking time to stage set then decrease the time of a lesser known band.  Surely more people would appreciate the iconic headliner than five Brazilians dressing up and pretending to be musicians –CSS
  2. If the curfew has to be complied with then at least let Jimmy Cliff finish his song and say goodbye to the crowd.  Show him some respect, after all he is playing for free!!!!
  3. If the sound has to be cut at least show some respect to the audience and announce the end of the event.  With thousands of alcohol fuelled punters screaming for answers they were lucky a riot didn’t materialise.  Antagonising a drunk audience is not the best way of celebrating unity within the community!!!!

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