Best of the Best celebrates ‘Year of the Woman’ - All-female headline acts meet demands
Music festival and concert line-ups are more than a catalogue of the who's who, and what to listen to, most times it is a reminder of the continued lack of gender equity on large stages. But, according the organisers of Best of the Best Music Fest held in downtown Miami, times are changing, and despite what past festival bills may indicate, female artistes are not only worthy of booking but are bankable too.
In an unprecedented move, for its 14th staging in May, the headline acts are a star-studded cast of females from across the spectrum of the Caribbean's most popular genres, among them, 'Queen of stage' Spice, Grammy Award-winner Koffee, dancehall's princess Shenseea, veteran lyricists Tanya Stephens and Lady G and the 'Queen of soca' Alison Hinds.
"The demand for female artistes has improved significantly over the past three to five years. And while we can't say that it will be only females providing the entertainment, it is definitely multiple female headliners for the first time. What this says is times are changing and we have no problem stepping out ahead of the pack to kick-start some change," explained the festival's publicist, Ronnie Tomlinson.
The ratio of male to female artistes was 10:1 last year, as it paid homage to the 90s era in dancehall with Vanessa Bling as the solitary Jamaican female performer.
This time around, with 2020 being coined 'The Year of the Woman', marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Bill guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote in the US, Best of the Best will highlight women in music who have made breakthroughs in fighting for their respective space in the male-dominated field. It is aptly themed 'Women Reigning in Reggae, Dancehall and Soca'.
"Women have worked hard to pry open the doors, but there always seem to be just one or two who are given the spotlight. Over the past year, the Caribbean and the world have witnessed females using their influence online and stage presence to collectively break the glass ceilings allowing more of them to shine at once," Tomlinson said.
Promoter Steven 'Jabba' Beckford also agreed females are making tremendous strides in the music industry and that it has not gone unnoticed.
"Whether promoter, industry executive or fan, one thing we must do is recognise when the artistes are making great impact. Several of the female artistes we have on this year's line-up are streaming successfully; they are reigning on the music charts with well over a million followers and are also engaging with their fans more than we have noticed before. Therefore, on a business level, it's a no brainer," Jabba told The STAR.
The Best of the Best weekend includes an official welcome party that kick-starts the activities; Aidonia's Birthday Party on the Saturday and then main event, the concert on Sunday, with an after party in the night. There is also a bonus All-White Pool Party on Memorial Day which falls on the Monday.