Dancehall artist Popcaan, whose real name is Andrae Sutherland, was slapped with five charges on Thursday, January 4 in the wake of the abrupt, contentious end to the stage show Unruly Fest in December last year.
Sutherland visited the Area 5 Police Headquarters in Kingston, where he was served with five summons related to his alleged behavior at the staging of ‘Unruly Fest’ in Yallahs, St Thomas, between Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23, 2023.
He 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.
The police were forced to bring the curtains down on the event after the promoters exceeded the time allowed for its staging. In videos widely circulating on social media, Popcaan reacted angrily to the abrupt lock-off and launched into an angry tirade peppered with expletives.
He is to appear in the St. Thomas Parish Court on Wednesday, January 10.
Bert Samuels, Popcaan’s attorney, said he is ready to represent his client to the fullest extent of the law, but that the incident suggests that greater care must be exercised in protecting “reggae music.”
“As Popcaan’s attorney, we intend to go to court on Wednesday. When Popcaan decided to keep this event in his own parish, he had all the goodwill towards his parishioners and his country. I think what this case has shown is the fact that Jamaica needs to take care of reggae. Reggae is a great contributor to Brand Jamaica which has sold our country, which has caused record visitors to come here because of reggae music,” he told DancehallMag.
Samuels lobbied the government for the creation of designated entertainment spaces for live events, and expressed a hope that something sensible will be done to rectify the situation.
“We should have, as a policy, to protect this treasure, a space in every parish in Jamaica where entertainment can go without the boundaries of Noise Abatement and other restrictions. We should have spaces where these entertainment events can go on so patrons can go on as long as people are prepared to be there,” Samuels added.
Samuels accused the powers that be of perpetuating a “disservice to reggae.”
“It comes from the ground. And we don’t like or don’t promote things that come from the belly of our people,” Samuels opined.
Popcaan was last before the courts on several traffic violations in November 2021. He was slapped with a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty in the Yallahs Traffic Court in St Thomas.
The deejay also has a lawsuit against the Attorney General over an allegedly defamatory Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) press release. In September 2023, Samuels told DancehallMag that his team had opted to go the route of mediation in that matter.