Sting is Dead!
12/21/2016 by Raoul Guariguata
Last week the promoters of the annual Sting show (December 26th - Portmore, Jamaica), Isaiah Laing and Heavy D announced the official end of the event in its present form. Sting won't take place this year, instead there will be an award show for dancehall artists and protagonists of the scene on Dec 26th, and on the 27th, some kind of party to honor everybody involved. Sting as we have come to know it, is dead for now.
Sting had become the most influential and biggest dancehall show on earth, since its launch back in 1983. Hosting the biggest DJ-clashes of all times with Bounty Killer, Ninjaman, Beenie Man, Merciless, Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Vybz Kartel to name a few of the clash participants, Sting has developed to an institution in its own rights.
In a TV interview [WATCH IT HERE] at OnStage with Winford Williams, Laing and Heavy D explained their reasons for the cancellation of the stage show. Too high wages demanded by artists in contrast to shows played by the same artists with lower wage demands on the days prior to Sting in Kingston and Portmore, missing personalities and DJs who aren't appealing to the patrons and the Dancehall die-hard fraction, financial losses for the promoters, who apparently haven't been making money of Sting in years, were some of the points raised. The main point though is that Laing and Heavy D don't have anyone who is able to headline Sting. According to them there is no one big enough to be the main magnet and draw the crowd this year. The remaining big names weren't available for various reasons. It seems that many artists are refusing to work together with the organizers.
How far bad management and a lack of creative innovations played a role for the declining numbers of patrons and also for the artists losing interest to perform at Sting remains an open question. If the financial losses have been known since years, why didn't they try to come up with new concepts and solve the problems in regards to the biggest brand of Dancehall entertainment? Undoubtedly is the claim that incarcerated mega star Vybz Kartel could have added more value to the stage show, but since he will be spending a long time in jail, the promoters should seek another solution, instead of depending on one super artist. Why not set up the ones available in a better way and treat them with greater respect? Furthermore, the clashes have become more and more boring in the last years, since the lack of big Dancehall personalities participating in the lyrical feuds.
Though Laing and Heavy D haven't given up on Sting. They plan to make it a worldwide event called One World Sting with shows being held in e.g. London, Pretoria, Beijing, New York and Paris; those are a couple of cities and places mentioned by the two. Time will tell, even if I am doubtful, if they will be successful with their megalomaniac idea. It is sad that the greatest Dancehall show on earth has become extinct.