Billy Ocean reveals why show was originally postponed * Budhaza left stranded * Debbie Smith nowhere to be found
The much-anticipated Hamptons Jazz festival, which has been marred by controversy over the years, may just have suffered its biggest blow yet.
The 5th edition of the annual Jazz festival, also known as ‘Monate wa Botsadi’ (fun for the grown folks) was staged at the Duma Grounds on Saturday to a packed capacity.
Whilst fun lovers at the event had little to worry about, with the sound, stage and security having been fairly good, the disaster was backstage.
According to an insider things seemed to be going well on the surface but that was not the case behind the scenes.
On the day of the event, Jazz icon, Budhaza was left with no accommodation together with his entourage and had to hustle for lodgings.
Amanda Black and her band landed safely in Botswana but failed to perform due to outstanding performance fees.
Nathi and Amanda Mankayi of the hit song ‘Impilo’ were also named in the line-up but did not even leave South Africa because they had not been paid balances for their performance fee.
South African artists Zahara also performed later than her scheduled time slot after she had arrived in the country minutes before the border closed.
However, the real chaos was to come the day after the event.
The face behind the Hamptons, Debbie Smith disappeared seemingly into thin air early Sunday morning, leaving star attraction Billy Ocean and Budhaza stranded at their hotel.
“She had agreed with Budhaza that she will give him the outstanding balance Sunday morning and by Sunday morning we were all waiting for her by the hotel lobby. Little did we know that by 9am she had skipped the country without even saying a word,” said one manager.
British legend Billy Ocean, of ‘The colour of love’ fame, suffered similar embarrassment when it was time for him to check out because of an outstanding P4, 000 balance apparently owed to the hotel.
On Sunday morning the white-haired singer spent some leisure time at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Sir Seretse Khama barracks.
But when it was time for his 5pm flight, “He could not check out for sometime because they owed about P4, 000. Smith had left without clearing the bill for Billy Ocean and his entourage,” claimed the source, who requested anonymity.
When the bill was finally paid by sympathisers, the company originally hired to transport Billy Ocean came to demand their payment.
“The company which was initially contracted to transport the artists were also not paid. Another company was engaged and when they realised this they came to hotel just when Billy and his team were about to leave and blocked his cars,” said the source.
“The hotel security had to be called to control the commotion and another sympathiser was able to pay the transport company a balance of about P3, 000 to let Billy and his entourage go because he was going to miss his flight,” continued the source.
In an exclusive interview with Voice Entertainment, Billy Ocean cleared the mystery as to why the date of the show was changed.
Rubbishing claims by the organisers that the only reason they postponed the show was because of Government failure to extend their permit hours, Ocean revealed he would have missed the initial set date.
“You see I was in Jamaica that week. I had to connect on a flight from there to London and when we got there all flights were cancelled because of bad weather,” explained the smoothly spoken crooner.
Meanwhile, another source close to the development further disclosed, “We are currently sitting at over an estimated P12, 000 refunds that we simply do not have at the moment. People who had bought their tickets for the initial set date want their money back as promised but Smith has pulled a disappearing act.”