THOUSANDS of music fans were left angry and disappointed after popular dancehall artiste Busy Signal was removed from the stage at the annual Groovin’ In The Park at the Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York, on Sunday evening.
The incident occurred midway through what, up to that time, was easily the best of the reggae acts on the show, as the young artiste had the crowd on its feet in a scintillating performance.
No official reason was given for the action, and the Jamaica Observer was unable to get a comment from the event organisers. There were, however, unconfirmed reports that the incident stemmed from police concerns about a time factor. However, a senior New York City Police Department police officer told the Observer: “We had nothing to do with it.”
Just before his microphone was disconnected, an obviously disappointed Busy Signal told his fans that “them trying to cut mi time. This is the first time mi a perform in a New York and a come mi come fi entertain,” he said to applause from his fans.
He said that he had been “waiting back stage since 3:30 pm”, but was brought on long after the 5:00 pm time stipulated in his contract. As he tried to continue, his microphone was cut off as security personnel moved in and removed him from the stage.
The vast crowd reacted with boos as MC Ras Clem of Irie Jam Radio pleaded for understanding. The angry throng was not impressed, however, as they took out their frustration by booing representatives from a number of companies which handed out prizes, though they had nothing to do with the incident.
Apart from the incident, the first of its kind since the show began seven years ago, this year’s show lived up to its billing. The performances from acts Tarrus Riley, U-Roy, Ken Boothe, Leroy Sibbles, Freddie McGregor, and Carlene Davis were all satisfying.