‘Come out early’ - Dream Weekend organisers adjust schedule amid new curfews

July 28, 2021
Patrons enjoying themselves at Dream Jouvert Soca party, which was the final event for Dream Weekend 2019.
Patrons enjoying themselves at Dream Jouvert Soca party, which was the final event for Dream Weekend 2019.
Kamal Bankey

Less than two weeks after getting the green light to host Dream Weekend, organisers of the annual summer series have been thrown a curveball with the announcement of a new islandwide curfew time.

The nightly curfew has been brought forward by three hours -- from 11 p.m. to 8 p.m. by the Government in a bid to stave off a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Dream Weekend organisers have reacted to the adjusted curfew hours by encouraging patrons to come out early for the August 5-9 party series.

"The ultimate effect the new curfew time will have will depend on whether or not patrons turn out early. We already have a significantly reduced capacity, based on the application process and the COVID containment measures, and we are in a place where we're running on a very, very tight budget, so we have to be as efficient as possible," said chairman of Dream Entertainment, Kamal Bankay.

"There is no wiggle room as far as time is concerned, so please work with us as we try to deliver a safe and reasonably good Dream Weekend," he added.

Like most entertainment events, Dream Weekend was cancelled last year after the Government advised that large festivals would not be permitted during the summer of 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19. The entertainment sector was shut down in March after Jamaica recorded its first few cases of the novel coronavirus. It then reopened under strict guidelines on July 21, but shut down one month later as the Government branded entertainment fertile ground for the spread of the highly contagious virus.

However, after nearly a year in lockdown, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the reopening of the sector effective July 1, and Dream Weekend became the first large event to approved for staging.

The highly anticipated annual festival, which features seven parties over the five days, will be held in Negril. It will see performances from the likes of Dexta Daps, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Laa Lee and Ding Dong.

Bankay said the Dream Weekend team will be pulling out all the stops to ensure all COVID-19 measures are observed.

"The events that would fall on a Sunday, as well as the public holidays, will now end at 2 p.m. in keeping with the 3 p.m. curfew announced by the PM. The weekday events will end at 7 p.m., an hour ahead of the 8 p.m. nightly curfew. It's not ideal but we have to make do and it's really now on us to make the best of the time we do have," he said.

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