No Wonder: star reveals backing band dispute
A top reggae star claimed yesterday that a dispute with promoters over his backing band was to blame for his failure to perform at a weekend music festival.
But the organisers of Unity Festival Bermuda said they “strongly disagreed” with comments made by Wayne Wonder on the reasons for his no-show.
Wonder told The Royal Gazette that he was approached by event organisers to appear with reggae superstar Buju Banton, the headline act, and agreed.
The singer, whose real name is Von Wayne Charles, added he was later asked to perform a full set at the concert.
But he said the promoters appeared to reject his condition that his band had to appear with him and suggested he use backing tracks instead.
Wonder told online Caribbean news outlet Loop Jamaica that he would “not use tracks on a big show like that”.
Wonder added: “I didn’t hear back from them.”
He added that he was never sent an airline ticket to attend the event.
Wonder disputed the claim made by festival organisers that he had backed out of the show in an interview with Loop Jamaica.
He said: “They never follow up back. They put out something say ‘my inability to perform’, but they never reach out to finalise the thing.”
But festival organisers said Wonder’s comments were “inconsistent with any correspondence and/or legal documentation”.
A spokesman added: “We, however, believe it would be counterproductive to engage in a back and forth over this, as it will only undermine the essence of the event and all of those who worked so hard to bring Bermuda a first-class event.
“We look forward to having meaningful discussions with Wayne Wonder and his team in the near future, as we believe ultimately that in the reggae community we must work together and resolve our differences in an honourable manner.”
Organisers announced on Friday that Wonder would not perform at the event at National Sports Centre, in Devonshire, because of circumstances beyond their control.
A spokesman added at the time that Wonder “was scheduled and confirmed and his inability to perform was due to an external conflict that has nothing to do with Unity Festival organisers”.
Wonder confirmed his withdrawal from the festival in an Instagram post on Friday.
It was estimated that 7,000 people attended the weekend event.
Another Jamaican musician was also involved in a dispute over a concert appearance this month organised by a different promoter.
The publicist for reggae artist Vershon said afterwards that his client had been denied entry into Bermuda as a tourist after the last-minute cancellation of a show.
However, Vershon, whose real name is Kemar Brown, denied that version of events.
He said he had not travelled to the island and apologised to the Government and people of Bermuda.
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