A backstage confrontation reportedly involving members of the entourages of recording artistes Demarco and Masicka was the first clear sign of the trouble which seemed to be brewing all night.
Persons had to run for cover as bottles were hurled during the face-off. Explosions, believed to be gunfire, were heard, but up to late Saturday, December 27th, there was no word from the police as to what had transpired.
"I really want to apologise to the fans, especially anyone who got injured, because this is my first big moment at Sting, and it shouldn't have ended up like that," said Masicka.
"There is no personal animosity between Demarco and me, it is just that things got out of hand with our entourages, and the situation got out of control. I was not the aggressor.
"I was backstage when Demarco walked over to me and asked me 'wah yu a deal wid?' Mi ansa that ah music mi a deal wid, and say why yu neva come up on the stage and face me that time then, why now?' Anyway, mi and him reason and we seal it up with a lion paw.
"Mi see him dawg dem come back and start circle mi car. Then Demarco forward again, but everybody tense, and then mi see a knife draw, people start tussle, fist a throw, and then two shots were fired, and everybody scatter, stampede gwaan and dem ting deh ... mi just defend myself because mi a street yute," added Masicka.
After delivering one of the nights’ best performances Demarco made his way backstage conducting several interviews in the process before departing the venue. Admittedly prior to the aforementioned there was an affable exchange between the two which was affirmed by a ‘lion paw’ a gestures meaning unity and oneness. Following the departure of Demarco and his immediate team his road manager whilst still at the venue completing some business was accosted and threatened by several members of Masicka’s loutish entourage. An attempt by Demarco’s Road Manager and several onlookers to pacify the situation resulted in Masicka’s cronies brandishing a firearm and a knife resulting in the shots being fired and the melee thereafter.
A seemingly surprised Demarco who was at home at the time of the exchange has since issued a statement and it read.
“It has been brought to my attention that I was involved in an altercation with another artiste and his entourage. I would like to use this opportunity to vehemently deny the allegations being perpetuated by unscrupulous individuals seemingly aimed at sullying my reputation. I was never involved in any fracas neither verbal nor physical and will never condone any acts of violence against anyone. Neither I nor any member of my immediate team with the exception of my Road Manager who was handling some business on my behalf was at the venue during the time of the melee. Immediately following my performance I along with the team exited the venue, therefore I’m unable to expound on what transpired. Based on reports it’s unfortunate what unfolded and I hope the relevant authorities will be swift in their investigation to bring the perpetrators of such brutish acts to justice. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for their continued support of my career throughout the years and stay tuned for some major moves in 2015.... ((bun up)).”
After that melee, so disappointed were the patrons and even some of the other artistes that Tommy Lee Sparta and Gage decided to cancel their highly anticipated clash and called for peace.
Both acts embraced onstage and performed songs from their budding catalogues, in an attempt to show their supporters and critics that recording artistes possess the ability to co-exist without animosity.
The show continued with patrons anxious for the expected rematch between dancehall star Blak Ryno and the man he defeated lyrically last year, KipRich.
Another bottle-throwing incident early into Ryno's performance led to another stampede as patrons dashed for cover with some persons in the VIP area and the media section.
Last year, KipRich, who had been crowned the Clash King of Sting, was upset by Blak Ryno during a clash for a $3-million cash prize. This year, the eagerly anticipated rematch came to a premature end after a shoving incident between the two onstage.
With lyrical clash over, the physical clash was to continue backstage with at least one person suffering a gash to the head after reportedly being hit with a bottle.
In a statement late Saturday afternoon, KipRich called for peace.
"I am urging my fans not to retaliate in any manner because this is now a police matter. One man has already been detained in connection with the incident."
According to KipRich, after the clash came to a premature end, a member of his entourage wearing a shirt with his image was attacked by a group of men. The man was kicked several times and a bottle was used to hit him in the head.
"I am disappointed that it has come to this, but things got a bit overheated onstage and the clash was not resolved, so I guess the fans were a bit too overenthusiastic, but we are urging everybody to just cool down," said KipRich.
Outside of the clashes, artistes such as Kabaka Pyramid, Droop Lion, Iba MaHr and Tarrus Riley delivered strong sets of Reggae music staying clear of controversy, except for Kabaka Pyramid when he performed his song Lock Dung D Place, in which he lashed out against artistes who are promoting immorality through their music.
With many a reggae artiste riding a dancehall style mix from the band, as well as reggae beats included in the material served up by the dancehall artistes, there was not a definite distinction between the two shows as publicised.
Nowhere was this more evident than during Capleton's excellent 50-minute set, beginning with the reggae of That Day Will Come and, for the encore, also with the reggae of Raggy Road. There were several reggae tracks in between, but the dancehall of Slew Dem, Or Wha, and many other hits brought the audience to howling fever pitch again and again. Then, Capleton was as much choreographer as deejay as he coordinated waves against injustice, death without dignity, Ebola, chikungunya and a range of other things.
Earlier, Dann-I got the good run of reggae going after a woeful showing by Orisha Sound, whose violin playing provided a rare connection with her audience. He showed that he has more material than the humorous infidelity tune Uncle Come, doing a song referencing Earth A Run Red.
Ataru appealed to favourable sentiments towards Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel and recovered from one off-key song to earn himself an encore.
Loyal Flames, who has a pleasantly raspy voice, made good use of his song Break Free and Ikaya's excellent voice carried her opening Hard Way. I Aint Giving Up reinforced her relationship commitment and Ikaya teamed up with Shuga to close with Dat Nah Go Work, their joint statement of making it in music on their legs, not on their backs.
Droop Lion (who got extended stage time), Exco Levi, Iba Mahr and Kabaka Pyramid, in that order, continued reggae's very strong showing at Sting 2014.
Droop Lion included Seven Spanish Angels, Soul Rebel and Hello Carol in his set, while Levi was in a no-nonsense mood, criticising the lawmen who close down dances with "2 o'clock dem pull up inna dem jeep/An Joe Grine dung a dem yard a tear sheet."
Iba Mahr's trio of popular songs, Step Away, Diamond Socks (which took the house down) and Burning were done back to back, his good delivery meeting the expected very positive response.
Kabaka Pyramid delivered on his promise of "intelligent fire", starting with Capitalist declaring "never gonna be a slave" and requesting a round of applause to the Government for its "well done" mayhem upon the country. "Me no come ya fi clash no artiste," Pyramid said. "But me have a message. Keep it clean or Rasta a go bun yu."
The tempo built with Warrior into his closing Mi Alright (done without Chronixx), for which Jamworld erupted
Gully Bop, who has only three officially recorded songs to his credit, hit the stage at 7 o'clock on Saturday morning and hardly showed any weakness.
Introduced as the fastest-rising recording artiste in the history of Jamaican music, Gully Bop, dressed in red and white, used quirky freestyles and controversy to hold the aggressive audience for more than 15 minutes, during which he received several encores.
While delivering his lyrics in similar fashion to his mentor-turned-rival Ninja Man, Gully Bop had the audience at his mercy as he belted freestyle after freestyle.
Sting has developed a reputation for being an event where creative individuals use music to express their grouses with other artistes, and despite having only a two-month career, Gully Bop seemed to fit in just fine with the other Dancehall acts as he extended musical challenges to Black Ryno, Ninja Man and Alkaline.
None accepted his challenge.
However, the audience made a feast of Gully Bop's lyrical attack on some of Jamaica's most celebrated musical acts.
"It was a nice experience performing at Sting. Ninja Man run and Black Ryno love run up onstage but him never try that with me because him afraid. The people dem love me, and for 2015 Gully Bop career will stand tall. Mi have nuff nice songs and mi nah talk about slackness, mi a talk clean music. A true some a dem song here a dem mi buss wid mi a gwaan do them," he said.Original story by The Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20141228/lead/lead2.html