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Vikings- Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons Press Release on 2014 Tobago Jazz Experience withdrawal (Steelpan Performing Artists take note)

International Award-Winning Soca Artists Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons & The Asylum Band speak officially on withdrawing from their advertised 2014 Tobago Jazz Experience performance

April 27, 2014

Global - Bunji Garlin (of Differentology fame), Fay Ann Lyons and the Asylum Band take this opportunity to provide for fans locally and around the world - a clear explanation of what transpired over the last forty-eight to seventy-two hours, which forced us to withdraw from the Tobago Jazz Experience. We have communicated with the media before, however we now detect an attempt to put a 'spin' on the story that amazingly attempts to put our band in a bad light. The information provided herein should end all speculation and put all such thoughts to rest.

The relationships between an event promoter and performers are governed by contracts and riders. Those relationships however are managed by good communications. From the inception of this relationship, communication from the Tobago Jazz Experience has been uniformly poor. The event manager has indicated that there may have been a communication problem, and he is half right, they did not communicate.

No performance contract ever requires the performer(s) to make their own travel or accommodation arrangements, at least none that we have ever been involved with.

He was told that they did not know that he was coming. This was at least strange, given the fact that they booked his flight.

At this stage, we attempted to contact the organizers with no success.

Fay Ann finally got Mr. John Arnold who then said unfortunately the hotel we originally requested was not available, and after a little discussion they said the whole band would be roomed at the Grafton hotel. Nonetheless, on Friday we journeyed to Tobago, we encountered no problems with the flight, although we had to end up arranging different ground transportation since the one that was sent for us had to leave as he has a government contract to pick up school kids. When we got to the hotel, we discovered that only five rooms were booked. At this point our four-hour ordeal started.

Our management and the hotel attempted to contact the organizers. Being familiar with the myriad task associated with hosting an event of this magnitude, we expect such hiccups and a trouble-shooter type response; instead we were met with hostility. We had much difficulty contacting anyone, as had the Grafton Hotel staff. One of the desk clerks said they have been calling the event’s rooming officials for hours to clear issues for other guests under their purview other than ours. The following is a sample of the responses that we did receive:  “So I must call the hotel and say what”; “so what I supposed to do for that” and “all yuh hutting up mi head and raising my blood pressure”.

We wish to restate that we were in the lobby of the hotel for going on four hours before we decided to leave.

It should also be noted, that with Grafton Beach being an all-inclusive Resort hotel, we were unable to check all in since the rooms were THA reserved and the rest of the band had to be THA approved in order to even enter the room.

We have also noted that there is an attempt to suggest that we somehow inflated the numbers in our bad with “joy riders”. The band which publicly performed for all of Carnival 2014, is the same one that travelled to Tobago, using tickets that were purchased and booked by the Tobago Jazz Experience. For further clarity, the following is a list of the individuals who travelled, and their roles.

1 machine/ percussionist
1 drummer
1 bassist
1 guitarist
1 keyboardist
3 horn players
1 back up singer
2 engineers ( 1 on stage one on front house)
2 roadies (equipment handlers)
1 manager
2 front line singers (Bunji & Fay Ann)
1 media liaison (cameras)

The Asylum Family is firmly committed “to run and take the microphone and just sing and make people proud.”  We however have little control over the vagaries of promoters. 

While they admitted that they did indeed mess up on the issue of party/ rooming arrangements, we hope to see the false statement given to media by one of their officials that "the row was because they expected 10 people but we showed up with 17 and that we wanted to stay where another artiste was staying" be rescinded and corrected.

We honestly and sincerely apologize to our true fans but an issue like this must never, ever happen to anyone - whether local or foreign.

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Those organizers only could see Green.They just care about the entertainers,And that have be going on for a long time.And thank's to Bunji Garlin comming out and exposing the organizers,it would have been sweep below the capet.

I saw on the listing Bunji Garlin have a manager,The manager should have gone 2 or 3 days before to Tobago to check out and see that everything is alright.The manager have to take some blame about that also.

Did you check to see whether everything was done prior to check-in? Problem is we don't give a damn about our own i.e entertainers and/or instruments.

Suffice to say, if this had been another Trinidad act, KES The Band, with members Kees Dieffenthaller, Hans Dieffenthaller, Jon Dieffenthaller and Riad Boochoon, this would not have happened because the same 'event promoter' and event officials would have been falling over himself and themselves to make sure that all was well with KES. Either things would have been honored from the 'get go' or if any issues arose they would have been quickly taken care of.

The crap of expecting 10 people would be a lie if the event promoter/manager was provided (as they were according to Bunji and band) with the rider, which shows a listing of 17 people.

Normal contempt at work here on the part of the so-called Tobago Jazz Experience event manager, promoter and officials.

It would be good if the Vikings rider has the customary clause that if any request or detail(s) is not attended to therefore leads to their non-performance, that they STILL COLLECT THEIR FULL FEE as if they had taken the stage. 

I was both annoyed and sorry about the treatment The Vikings received in our/ their own country.Shame on the organizers who did not give due and total respect to our proven top artists and their band. Management style was surely poor. It is a pity we still have people who do things in a it-good-so manner without a goal towards efficiency. Suggest for the future dealings with those types to cut or demand proper interaction when it begins with unclear communication, to signal you want to maintain standards.

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