Three Hats and the Suit
There are two questions I ask myself once a Gig is confirmed. Can you guess what they are? Let me count you down while you think of what my answer is. Here we go, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
Travel arrangements? No, I do this before the gig is confirmed
Which Saxophone to play? Nope! I do this when I’m rehearsing.
What songs to play? Yes!
What to wear? Most definitely yes!
On Saturday 6th August I had three gigs in three locations.
My first was an invitation to perform at the Birmingham 2022 Festival, which is said to be ‘the biggest celebration of creativity ever in the region and one of the largest ever Commonwealth Games cultural programmes’ (1). The festival organisers, OPUS Ltd, included the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. The Civic Ceremony and official flag raising took place in Victoria Square, Birmingham city centre at 2.30pm where I performed ‘Kingston Town’, which is still climbing on my YouTube channel by the way. I performed on the main stage, the Festival Fountain Stage which is beautifully colourfully. Later I opened the 4.30pm session with a 30min set of reggae, funk, ska, pop, and inspirational numbers.
The Square was so full with people from across the Globe, that it was tight and slow to walk between the Green room situated in the Council House, to side Stage with equipment. Nevertheless, it was great to see people celebrating in style. We had fantastic weather for it. See photographs below.
It was really nice to meet the festival planning team. In particular Clelia as we corresponded by email and phone prior to the event. Thanks Clelia. Thanks, Phoebe, for the orientation. A big shout out to Al the Sound Engineer who gave me such a sweet mix. Also, thanks to the stage manager and the sound and media personnel. Also, to the volunteers in their snazzy grey and orange outfit, who assisted me, they were so hospitable. Everyone made the multiple parts and activities flow seamlessly. Well done! Very professional!
I also want to say a special thank you to my fans and followers who came to this performance to hear me. Also to those who couldn’t make it but sent me supportive comments, thank you so much 😊👍🏾
I left at 5pm, grabbed a quick bite, changed outfit and went on to my second appearance. This was the 50th birthday party for twins, Wayne and Tracey, in Moseley at 6.30pm. The compere was very funny, he kept the audience engaged and linked between the DJ and me so well. There was a really funny moment though. When Tracey mentioned that she feels Wayne’s pains, the compere playfully punched Wayne on the arm and asked Tracey ‘Did you feel that? Just checking 😊’. We were all in stiches!
I arrived to my final performance at 9.30pm, Eastside Rooms, Aston. I was due on stage a little later that night. About 500 people attended this Black-tie event which was the Gala Charity dinner and awards for the Association of Jamaican Nationals. The highlight was when everything stopped at 9.45pm to watch the Commonwealth Games Women’s 200 metres final on the big screen. An amazing atmosphere with cheers and applause for the winner Elaine Thompson-Herah, from Jamaica.
Deciding what to wear for each of these three events was a thing for me but one thing was quite clear. I was wearing hats!
I’m loving my hats! They are what I am rocking this season. Recently I was asked ‘how many do you have?’, I have four but only three hats were donned on Saturday and not all at the same time – LOL! Yellow for the Birmingham 2022 Festival, Black for the 50th Birthday party (as it was a black and white affair), and Blue for the Gala charity dinner. The yellow and blue hat are by June Francis, thanks June! The black is from the Hat Man store, thanks Hat Man!
I’m also rocking suits, and you might have noticed my blue suit on my Instagram. For Saturday though, I had a tailored black suit with yellow top stitching which worked really well with my yellow hat. The suit, in fact both suits, are made by Denise Ottey, thank you Denise 😊
If you are gasping about the spread of my day, don’t worry. This is not my typical schedule. The global pandemic really hit the music industry very hard. My face-to-face work was wiped out in March 2020, and I had the occasional booking, subject to temporary easing, over the two years. Restrictions were fully lifted early 2022 for the industry, and since then I have had a steady increase in enquiries. Some days it is an avalanche but I won’t knock it. I’m thankful to be able to work at getting my bank balance sorted – LOL!
That was my day of three hats and the suit.
Here are some pics of the festival. Check out the hat and suit 😊 Photographs by Laurence Stephenson