It’s Mighty Crown versus Tony Matterhorn on Wednesday at Snorkel Park. On Friday, stick around St George once the match is done for the after-party at Tiger Bay — Skinny Fabulous, Noah Powa and DJ Polish will all be on stage.
Rowan Ramotar, Andrew Holmes and Declan Harris are promoting the two events. Expect the colours and sounds of Cup Match, the spectacle of a “fierce music rivalry” and “great entertainment”.
It is a way of life for Mr Ramotar, who has been bringing “the biggest names in the reggae and soca industry” to Bermuda for many years.
Originally from Jamaica, music was a huge part of his household while growing up. Bob Marley, Jacob Miller and Dennis Brown were among his favourite performers “back in the good old days” although his interest extended to “Caribbean music as a whole”.
“When I came to Bermuda in 1987 to study at Bermuda College, I brought that passion with me,” he said. “Because of immigration restrictions I couldn’t do much promoting, but I hung out with Rude Boy, Genesis, Harlem Hi-Power — I used to go to all those parties, the big sounds of the day.”
He became formally involved in the early Nineties when he brought in the sound system Stone Love with local promoters Magnum Force.
“Needless to say, it was a huge success,” he said. “It was well attended and, I like to say, the rest is history.”
A long break followed and then he ran into Mr Harris, who he knew put on “old school” concerts as part of the group Veterans in Action.
A Bob Marley tribute came out of that meeting.
“It was a massive success. BAA was completely rammed and he and I teamed up from there,” Mr Ramotar said.
With Mr Holmes, of 441 Productions, they held the first Cup Match Summer Splash the following year.
“We’ve brought in, over the years, some of the biggest names in the reggae industry — Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, Major Lazer, Barrington Levy; we flew Jah Cure in on a private jet ...
“In between that, my partner and I do carnival events. We’ve brought some of the biggest names in the soca and reggae industry to Bermuda for carnival.”
The general manager of Somers Supermart in St George feels “lucky” to have a full-time job that allows him to indulge in his passion.
“Especially when Cup Match is in St George’s, there’s a frantic atmosphere; everyone is in a celebratory mood. It’s crazy, it’s hectic and I have to balance the retail side, my full-time job, and put an event together for Cup Match. It’s quite a challenge but I’ve managed to do it effectively over the years.
“On the Thursday I work, normally, and on the Friday, I take a few hours to relax and go to the game and then I go and set up our venue for the event. Whenever Cup Match is in Somerset, we normally have it at Snorkel Park [which is already equipped], but this year is a little different. It’s at Tiger Bay so we have to create a venue from an open parking lot. We bring in tenting, a stage, sound, lights, bathrooms, everything — and we have to get all that ready before Friday. Then I try to go to the game although it hasn’t been a fun one for me for a while, being a St George’s supporter.”
This year, as always, the group’s aim was to book entertainers they knew would connect with the audiences.
“We believe we found the right ones,” Mr Ramotar said. “Mighty Crown has been in the sound business for years and won some of the biggest sound clashes in the world. They play old school, new school and they’re very good. They have a very strong fanbase in Bermuda.
“Tony Matterhorn has been around for years and is such a versatile selector he can read a crowd and whip it into a frenzy — that’s how good he is. The two also have a historic, friendly rivalry so we believe that both of them in one venue can lead to something very, very exciting on a given night. They’re also familiar with Cup Match and what Cup Match is to Bermuda and it’s always good to get an artist who has a background of what you’re trying to do to celebrate.”
He described Friday’s performers, Noah Powa and Polish, as “two of the most versatile selectors from out of New York”.
“Noah Powa is of Jamaican heritage and is probably one of the fastest rising artists in the reggae industry. He has huge single with Shaggy, Money Up, off his latest album and is also a great MC. He came here last year for Cup Match so he’s familiar with the celebration and we’re excited to have him back.”
One of the highlights will probably be Skinny Fabulous’s Famalay, the soca entertainer’s song with Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin that won Road March at Trinidad & Tobago Carnival this year.
“I think it’s a great hit for Cup Match,” Mr Ramotar said. “He’s a high-energy performer and I’ve spoken to him and he’s said he’s ‘gonna bring it’. He loves Bermuda at Cup Match.
“He’s been here before. I’m not sure what team he is for, but judging from the video drop he sent me he seems to be a Somerset fan — which is rather disappointing.”
• Return Of The Titans featuring Mighty Crown and Tony Matterhorn takes place on Wednesday at Snorkel Park. Gates open at 9pm. Tickets are $50 general admission, $100 VIP. Gates at Tiger Bay open at 8pm for Cup Match Fever featuring Skinny Fabulous, Noah Powa and DJ Polish. Tickets are $50 general admission, $120 VIP. All tickets are available at Kit ‘n’ Caboodle, Jazzy Boutique, Somers Supermart, Belvin’s Variety, People’s Pharmacy and bdatix.bm