Dancehall artiste Popcaan has been slapped with several criminal charges stemming from his Unruly Fest event being shut off by cops last week.
Popcaan, whose real name is Andre Sutherland, was charged with the use of indecent language, disorderly conduct, using abusive and calumnious language, issuing a threat to police officers, and breaches of the Noise Abatement Act, stemming from his running with law enforcement officers at his show, Unruly Fest, last month.
The 2023 staging of Unruly Fest, held on December 22, 2023, was closed off by police who said the show went on beyond the closing time on the permit. The annual festival in Yallahs, St Thomas, is held to raise funds for the community, including yearly back-to-school and Christmas activities for children.
However, this year’s event ended after police came on stage and urged the artist to stop the show. Popcaan also had choice words for the police officer, telling him- “Hold on nuh Uncle, what ya nuh, that’s why St Thomas can’t better cause Annu to fight everything weh we do. We nuh like unnu, St Thomas can’t better wid them thing yah… unnu too badmind bout yah.”
The Gleaner reported that the show was to end at 4 am, but the police extended grace to 5 am, but the show went over that time, leading to cops shutting it down.
Popcaan has not reacted to the latest charges. The artiste posted his “receipts” days after the incident, proving that the event was to go to 6 am. Still, he later deleted the post after his followers commented that the show was to end at 6 am, meaning that all equipment had to be packed up and cleared out.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force has not commented on the charges against Popcaan or their basis.
Popcaan’s lawyer, Bert Samuels, also released a statement to Urban Islandz.
“Arising out of the Unruly Festival on 22nd December 2023 was an altercation between the police and Popcaan. The videos will show you that when the police came on stage at about 5 O Clock, they were greeted by Popcaan as respect is due to you. Things seemed to have turned a little different and he has not been charged for use of indecent language, threatening the police and breach of the permit that was given to him,” the attorney said.
He added, “I know that this what is now in the air, but what is the bigger picture is, when will artistes and promoters be able to get a space in each parish where they can carry out their trade, that is, the entertainment in reggae music which is a huge part of brand Jamaica that has put Jamaica on the map? Where is in every parish a venue or space that they/these concerts can be carried out without the boundaries put up by noise abatement and times within which to be held?”
The attorney urged Jamaican authorities to look at other places in the world like Europe, which has prioritized spaces for reggae music and other such festivals that do not come into contravention with the law. He added that artists and athletes who center Brand Jamaica globally should have these specially designated entertainment zones.
The artiste will have his first court hearing on January 10, 2024, and is being represented by his long-time attorney, Bert Samuels.