Buju Banton

Filled or flopped?

There are conflicting reports coming out of The Bahamas regarding the second concert in Buju Banton’s Long Walk to Freedom (LWTF) tour, which was held at Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in the capital Nassau on Saturday.

Images have been circulating on social media showing a sparse venue and a caption stating that “more people attend a political rally”.

Media outlet Bahamaspress.com reported a “near empty” field and questioned the claim that tickets were sold-out. It also noted a lack of security guards at the stadium.

“We await the drone shots – but from this empty field all could not have went well. Bahamians are struggling in a bad economy which is not firing. Unemployment is on the rise, taxes are high and crime is rampant,” read a post on its website.

This is quite different to the picture being painted by Buju Banton’s team.

“Bahamas was great — still waiting for the final numbers, but the fans came out for the LWTF in Bahamas. Buju took the stage at 1:45 am and stopped performing at 3:35 am. Closing song was Psalms 23, which he performed with Gramps Morgan. Buju gave a very energetic show performing a slightly different set than he did in Jamaica with just a little more of the dancehall tracks. But the momentum and Buju Banton mania is on. Next up Trinidad,” said the artiste’s publicist Ronnie Tomlinson.

Afrobeat specialist Davido, American rapper Kodak Black, and American-Bahamian stand-up comedian/singer Lil Duval were also billed for the show.

Buju Banton was released from a US prison in December 2018 after serving an eight-year sentence for drug-related charges.

The tour’s kick-off show was held at the National Stadium in Kingston on March 16 and saw Buju Banton performing in front of a massive audience estimated at well over 30,000, said to be the biggest concert in Jamaica’s entertainment history.

Other stops on the Long Walk to Freedom tour are Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on April 21; Barbados on April 27 during the Barbados Reggae Festival at Kensington Oval; on May 4, Buju Banton is is expected to perform at the Andre Kamperveen Stadion in Suriname; one week later (May 11) he is scheduled to play Grenada.

The tour continues on June 11 with a stop at the National Cricket Stadium in the country’s capital St George. He then moves to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands on June 15, and closes at St Kitts Music Festival on June 29 at Kim Collins Athletics Club.

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