By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
The Celebration of Love concert featuring Grammy award winning artist R Kelly brought in several firsts for the Bahamas. The first visit to the Bahamas for the R&B artist and the first performance for the new concert space Seaside Pavilion thanks to event promoters Fresh Entertainment. Patrons who enjoyed partying under the big tent at Arawak Cay on Saturday will have to wait and see if the venue becomes permanent.
Crispin Cleare, president of Fresh Entertainment and C3 Seating is also the owner of the big tent. He said: “The property that the tent is on is owned by the government. They allowed us to have the tent up. Bahamians can use the tent, depending on what it is being used for.”
“If it is for a cook-out or something like that, it would usually be free. But with it being a permanent venue for concerts or events, I cannot answer that, it would be up to the government. I would love to leave the tent there for that purpose, but it is not up to me,” said Mr Cleare.
The big tent was transformed completely into a world class venue for the R Kelly concert. The venue was equipped with sky-box seating, general admission, VIP, platinum and a catwalk for the show. The catwalk was ejected into the crowd for a close up experience of the A-list artist.
After the concert’s success, some patrons said they were amazed by the complete transformation of the venue. Crispin Cleare, president of Fresh Entertainment and C3 Seating told Tribune Entertainment: “The Seaside Pavilion eliminated all doubts that it wasn’t an attractive venue for a concert such as this one. A lot of people doubted it prior to the concert, but we catered to the people who supported it.”
“Those who were there had a great time. It is being deemed one of the best concerts in the Bahamas, by patrons,” said Mr Cleare.
The Seaside Pavilion’s venue has the capacity to hold over 4,000 people comfortably. The bleacher seating provided by C3 Seating offered panoramic views in all sections except the catwalk.
“Fresh Entertainment will be known for major events and we want to do things throughout the country as well,” he said.
Mr Cleare said the concert was shorter than usual, but longer than contracted. He said R Kelly usually does a shorter set, but he gave Fresh Entertainment 30 minutes longer than he should have.
“I’ve attended R Kelly concerts several times before; I have a personal relationship with him and his camp. He likes to leave people hungry enough for the next show, and he wants to come back to the country and make the event bigger. We have a year to plan and be very selective on the supporting artists. The show will be bigger than it was this year. Now the people know what to expect from Fresh Entertainment and that was our objective,” said Mr Cleare.
Even though the promotion team only had four weeks to promote the concert, Mr Cleare said they were able to attract tourists to the country to attend the concert.
“It proves that there is a market out there for entertainment tourism. We’ve been hearing about international concerts such as Jazz in the Gardens in Florida, Miami Carnival, Trinidad Carnival, Best of the Best in Miami, and many festivities in Jamaica. That is a large market that represents billions of dollars, and it is not taken advantage of in the Bahamas. Shows like A Celebration of Love can make people look into things like that,” said Mr Cleare.