Should Etana, Protoje and Raging Fyah refuse government support for tours?

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Should Etana have refused the US$5,000 grant she received from the government as part of an Artiste Tour support programme for reggae artistes?

Jamaicans have questioned the grounds on which Etana and other artistes like Protoje and the band Raging Fyah were awarded the funds, while others intimated that public funds should not be given to private individuals who have fat bank accounts. Recording artiste Tanya Stephens  was particularly harsh in her criticism. 

“New program 'supporting' entertainment and the first grant of USD5K goes to Etana for tour support. I love Etana but she mus lick her head fi accept that position!”

Senior director in the Entertainment Division of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Gillian Wilkinson-McDaniel, addressed the issue at a media briefing at the ministry's Trafalgar Road office in St Andrew yesterday afternoon.  

Wilkinson-McDaniel explained that the programme was initiated in 2013 by then Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment's junior minister Damian Crawford as a way to enhance the reggae brand and provide additional marketing for destination Jamaica.


"Between 2013 and 2015 two persons — Protoje received US$8,000 and Kabaka Pyramid and the Bebble Rockers received US$1,000 during that particular period. Since then, in 2017 Raging Fyah, when they went on their Everlasting Tour and were nominated for the Grammy, also received (US$3,500) tour support, and this year Etana has received tour support. Freddie McGregor also received tour support in 2016 when he was invited to perform in Bogota as part of a creative city endeavour,” Wilkinson-McDaniel said.


Wilkinson-McDaniel explained that Etana, who is currently on tour, topped a field of four applicants for the grant, noting that there is a clear process for potential recipients, which begins with applicants submitting their bids to the Entertainment Division where they are vetted and sent to the entertainment advisory board for consideration, then to the permanent secretary for ratification and approval.


“In this fiscal year, we received four applications, some of which we were unable to actually review primarily because the tour dates were much too close. We ask that persons submit applications with a clear three to six months because the mechanism of actually disbursing funds can be difficult in government. You also need to know what your tour itinerary is. Some people will come with one date and we have to send you back as that is not sufficient, and we have to send you back to the drawing board for a full itinerary of your tour.”


She added that, “You have to complete the entertainment registry application because we require that every person who gets support from us, that you are registered as a bona fide cultural practitioner. You need to indicate the size of the venues so that we can then measure the impact — how many persons are you going to be reaching at any given time. We also look at who are you touring with. So, for example, in this case Etana is touring with J Boog and Jesse Royal. These are some of the things that the board would consider. It is about expected audience reach in relation to the venue and your social media and marketing plan.”

The Artiste Ambassador and Tour Support Programme was introduced under the previous People's National Party administration, aimed at using entertainers to help promotion destination Jamaica in return for financial assistance. Among the reported considerations are the applicants' strength in the entertainment industry and on social media.


Last year, reggae band Raging Fyah received US$3,500 under the programme.


Etana, whose tour kicks off on February 17th in California, told Claude Mills, one876 editor, that : "I don't think a lot of artistes are knowledgeable about the application process but I hope that now there will be more applications and more artistes who can get the tour support they need to take their band on tour anywhere in the world." 


According to the Ministry's website, all applications to the programme should meet the following basic criteria:


1. The Artiste or Group must apply three (3) to six (6) months prior to tour


2. The Artiste or Group must have confirmed bookings, contract and itinerary prior to application (Tentative booking schedules may be considered)


3. The Artiste or Group must present a detailed tour schedule including stops and venues


4. The Artiste or Group must be performing on no less than three (3) separate shows or venues


5. The original and 1 copy of the application form must be submitted to the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5.


6. Special consideration will be given to artistes or bands that satisfy most of the criteria identified and their tour engagement aligns with the objectives of the programme


7. Only typed submissions will be accepted Response Time: We will respond to you within fourteen (14) business days after receipt of your proposal.







Read 2353 times Last modified on Last modified on February 14 2018

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