Uptown Mondays patrons showed how much they they were glad to be ‘outside’ – having been starved of events due to the lockdown of the entertainment sector for close to 12 months – by partying up a storm at the Constant Spring Road, St Andrew hotspot on Monday night.
This internationally renowed session has attracted thousands of Dancehall fans to uptown Kingston since 2002. Back then it used to be the only weekly thing and everyone called it the ‘uptown’ party.
Think raw dancehall until 4 pm, local and international dancers and entertainers and a smart, well dressed audience. Romeich Mondays and Uptown Mondays make for a great combination and people generally go to Romeich Mondays first and to Uptown Mondays later on.
It was the first staging of Uptown Mondays since the reopening on December, and event founder Whitfield ‘Witty’ Henry considered it a great start.
Wide smiles, elbow brushing and even a few fist bumps greeted ‘Fada Witty’ as he took up his usual spot, sitting on a high stool at the entrance to his weekly jam session in Savannah Plaza, resting his arm on a table with drinks and a box of face masks.
The exuberant hails were all on the same theme, a celebration of freedom. “Fada Witty, we outside!” “Daddy Witty, we out again!” “Bless up Witty, we inna di place again. No more lockdown.” “Mannas and respect, Boss. Free this week!”
Witty told 2GranTv that he was “proud to be back at work”.
“I wasn’t making any money and all my resources have dried up,” he shared. “It’s great to be outside, that’s all we know. We don’t know inside party. To be honest, if it was just one person turn up tonight, I would still be a happy man,” he said.
Uptown Mondays got off to a late start, courtesy of Marlon, the engineer, who arrived late and therefore the sound was set up late. But Marlon took the finger-pointing with a smile.
“Nobody remember how to do the thing, it’s been so long,” Witty said. But, he quickly added that he is making sure that all the “new” requirements are in place.
“We have masks for free, and we have temperature checks and sanitiser for hands. And, we making sure to end at 10 p.m. sharp, not a beat over 10,” he stressed.
On the inside, selectors Mental, DJ Kenny and Rooksie kept the vibe and the energy high. There was one Rasta dancer who definitely lived his name. Cyaan Tiad was present from before 8 o’clock, entertaining the then-sparse audience with his flexible moves, and he was a staple on the dance floor the entire night. By 8:30, the vibe went up several notches as more people streamed into the venue — artistes, dancers, friends and regulars.
Among those supporting Witty were Lugu Lugu, Mr Easy, Kool Kid, Harry Toddler, Black Lion, Colo Colo and Marvin the Beast. Witty’s colleagues, Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell of Weddy Weddy, and Brian ‘Kustom Muzik’ Smith of Boom Sundays, were also in the house. Of course, the peanut, Wrigley’s and weed seller with his box of goodies was also a feature.
Witty told THE 2GranTv that as of next Monday, the party will kick off one hour earlier. “The people still don’t get use to the early time. But these are not the days when we can start at 11 p.m. because that is curfew time. This week we tried a thing and started at 7 p.m. but we need a little more time, so as next week, it will be 6 to 10 for Uptown Mondays, and we are going to start charging at the gate. This week we did it for free,” he stated.
Uptown Mondays has attracted thousands of dancehall fans and the curious since its inception in 2002, when it was a regular thing for patrons to leave the session at 2 a.m. and beyond.