Long considered the mecca of West Indies cricket, the Kensington Oval in Barbados has seen centuries by the region’s great batsmen: Weekes, Sobers, Richards, Rowe and Lara. On April 27, promoters of the Long Road to Freedom concert there hope Buju Banton helps them score heavily at the gates.
Allison Hunte, CEO of promoters Seven Star Entertainment, told the Jamaica Observer’s Splash that anticipation is high for the third leg of the event, which kicked off in Jamaica on March 16.
“Everything is running on schedule. We are officially four weeks out from one of the most anticipated music events Barbados ever experienced, and the excitement is in the air. Fas7Star, our sponsors, and local crew are elated with the response to the show to date,” she said.
Wayne Wonder, Spragga Benz and Barbadian singer Buggy Nhakente will also perform on the show, which is second of four nights on the Buju In Barbados Weekend.
Hunte, who attended the Jamaica show at the National Stadium in Kingston, said the last major act to headline Kensington Oval was pop superstar Rihanna, for Barbados’ 50th anniversary celebrations in November 2016.
That show drew 20,000 fans to the venue which holds a capacity 30,000. Hunte expects Buju Banton to do just as well, in a country with a population of just of over 280,000 people.
“Ticket sales have been consistently solid. We have seen overseas sales trends increasing for the US, Canada and the UK in particular. This is good news for not only us but for tourism in Barbados,” she said.
Nine years ago, Seven Star Entertainment and FAS Entertainment formed FAS7STAR Inc which has since promoted calendar events such as the Barbados Reggae Festival and Hennessy Artistry. The company also organises shows in St Lucia and The Bahamas.
Buju Banton was released from federal prison in the United States in early December after serving nearly eight years for cocaine charges. Crowd estimates for his comeback gig in Kingston vary, with some pundits reckoning it drew as many as 35,000 fans.
He is scheduled to perform in The Bahamas tomorrow at Thomas Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, that country’s capital. One week before performing in Barbados, Buju Banton and his Til Shiloh Band will be in Trinidad and Tobago; after Barbados, shows are scheduled for Suriname, Grenada, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands and St Kitts.