Ronnie Butler slams artists over Carnival


Tribune Staff Reporter


BAHAMIAN music legend Ronnie Butler yesterday criticised some Bahamian artists for attempting to “overcharge” the government to perform at Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.

Although he is listed as one of the official performers for the event, Mr Butler also told this newspaper he had “no idea” he was performing at the inaugural festival until he was contacted by friends and family who saw the announcement in The Tribune.

He admitted that the government contacted him “months ago” and asked him to perform at one of the events, but he said he has not heard from anyone since. He said until he gets a contract and is paid, he does not consider himself to be a part of the event.

Mr Butler’s comments came after the Bahamas National Festival Commission announced that Trinidadian Soca singer Machel Montano will close out the Music Masters Concert.

On Monday, a source on the commission said the foreign singer reportedly will be paid $100,000 and that Baha Men, this country’s Grammy award winning band will be paid $60,000.

However, a statement released by the commission yesterday refuted this.

The commission said the base rate for musicians is approximately $300 an hour per performer or band member. “While the BNFC is being guided by established market values, we also appreciate the need to build value within our own artistic community and are acting accordingly. That is why the guest artists for the Music Masters Concert, Machel Montano and Baha Men are being paid comparable rates, unlike the incorrect information reported in the press. Neither artist is being paid $100,000,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Mr Butler told The Tribune while he has not been “confirmed” to perform at the festival, his conscience would not allow him to overcharge the government once a contract is hammered out.

“They spoke to me a few months ago, but no one has gotten back to me. How could they say I am performing if I have no contract, since I have no money and no contract? That means I am not performing. If they get back to me with a contract and my money of course I will perform. It makes no sense for a foreigner (to) come make money and I don’t make any,” he said.

“In terms of payment, what I asked for was fair. You have to understand that this money is the Bahamian people’s money. We worked for that, this isn’t the government’s money, this is mine and yours and I will not participate in this overcharging thing. I want a decent payment for what I am due but I do not feel like I am going overboard. The problem is, some of these artists hear about the $9 million (budget) for carnival and they want their big piece of that, when most of them have never seen more than $2,000. There is nothing wrong with asking for what you think you deserve, but you cannot overcharge. That just is not right. My conscience will not allow me to ask for $50,000 to sing two songs – that’s like robbery.”

According to the commission, Mr Butler, Baha Men, Visage, and Julien Believe are scheduled to perform during the May 7-9 peak of the Junkanoo Carnival season. Bahamian artists T- Connection and Jay Mitchell will play at carnival events in Grand Bahama.

Trinidadian artists Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin are also set to perform.

According to the Festival Commission, a top group out of Haiti will also be performing during Junkanoo Carnival.

The government initially budgeted $9m for the festival.

In January, festival organisers said they had spent about $1.5 million on the event up to that point.

Yesterday the commission said it has invested over half a million dollars directly in Bahamian musicians over the past year.


Tommy77 7 years, 8 months ago

It never ends!http://s04.flagcounter.com/mini/kfoW/..." style="display:none" />http://s05.flagcounter.com/mini/WUu/b..." style="display:none" />


duppyVAT 7 years, 8 months ago

Ronnie has lived long enough to see the end of Bahamian music as a viable marketable genre .............................. SAD


TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

We love you Ronnie Butler. Please stay well and thanks for steadfastly remaining in love with your Bahamaland. PM when you mess with Ronnie, it becomes one those too personal things I have talked about. Comrade prime minister, Carnival 2015, they just became an embarrassment to the name Junkanoo. What's next, a press release, announcing they will be using a fraction that 9 million taxpayers dollars, to print food stamps for the native performers? Oh yes, they got the bullocks, even to ration them food stamps. Would they demand for Ronnie and KB to lineup in the food stamp line? Comrades for this to be but a figment of my imagination, that would imply that my imagination is all powerful. PM do what you want with Carnival 2015, but please stop embarrassing the good name of Junkanoo, around the world. Please in the name of Jesus, drop any association of the natives beloved Junkanoo, from this thing you need just call - Carnival 2015.


TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

Comrades lay Obediah, Danny & Paul, up on table with them legs lifted high up in air and season their yes, yes, yes's, with some hot Junkanoo pepper.

Calypso Mama - All Obadiah, Danny & Paul Is laying Is They Carnival 2015's Yes, Yes, Yes



ThisIsOurs 7 years, 8 months ago

I was really surprised to hear KB asking for 150,000 if that figure is true. 8 people in Grammy award winning Bahamen asked for 200,000. Was Sweet Emily right (from 3 weeks ago) about KB's motives??


TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

Comrades in Junkanoo, everybody the world over love they own version Carnival. But our PLP cabinet are spending 9.5 million taxpayers dollars, to invite the world come see other peoples versions of Carnival 2015 - whilst Bahamalanders are made to feel less proud of we own nation's cherished Junkanoo. The PLP cabinet show such disrespect, they gone's and hire a Trinidadian, as their number one choice, for biggest performer paycheck. I ask you PM, why you doing this to Junkanoo? And, we thought you were. our emperor?



The_Oracle 7 years, 8 months ago

A sham, a facade to hide behind. No different than the Colonial Masters who, sensing unrest summoned rum to be sent, to be drunk during a holiday declared! And we eat this up hook line and sinker.


TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

Comrade The_Oracle, ever so true, except this PLP cabinet, would quickly find a convincing way levy a $10 per shot rum charge. Most important we hold, all PLP cabinet ministers equally responsible for Carnival 2015 and keep reminding them of it.


Emac 7 years, 8 months ago

Folks this debate should not be about Bahamian artists versus foreign artists. It should be about public appeal or record sales versus lack of public appeal and record sales. Ronnie Butler and Bahamen are world renowned. Even though he did not win an Emmy Award, Ronnie Butler is still considered to be one of the greatest musicians in the region similar to Byran Lee, Lord Kitchener and Sparrow. What KB gat is ego. KB is certainly a good entertainer but he has yet to take his music to the next level. Sorry but Regattas don't count.


TalRussell 7 years, 8 months ago

Martin Luther King Jr. "Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool" August 27, 1967



TheMadHatter 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes, God forbid that Bahamians should be paid very well for their service. Don't worry, though, that "top group" (as the article calls them) will be paid super duper well, for sure.



duppyVAT 7 years, 8 months ago

(Sir) Ronnie Butler is a Bahamian icon who should be placed in the yet to be built National Heroes Park ............................ that park should not be a monopoly for politicians but should be the home to life size statues of men/women who have defined what is best about Bahamian music, culture, education, religion, sports, business, philanthropy................... etc ................................and yes politics


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