Witness Account of Mango Madness
Before the Mango went bad...
Photo: Sabine Raymonvil
A freelance reporter, Sabine Raymonvil, attended the Deerfield Beach Mango Festival on Saturday. She agreed to share her account with Juice readers:
At approximately 3:15 p.m., after the first performance was to begin, Harold Cummings, CEO of Drummer Boy Sound Production Inc., was seen disengaging the heavy-duty sound equipment on stage as event coordinator Norris Wiggins pleaded with him to stay. Cummings advised that throughout his seven years of professional service in the industry, he had yet to experience such unprofessionalism and unethical behavior. Cummings went on to mention that he specified in his proposal to Wiggins weeks prior to the event the fashion for which he was to be paid for the services rendered.
Cummings himself was too steamed to talk to anyone, but as he stormed off, Raymonvil got the sound manager's card and spoke with him the following day. According to Raymonvil, he said:
"We arrived to the park and immediately began setting up our equipment in good faith that we would be paid prior to the first act."
As Cummings continued loading his equipment back into his company truck, Wiggins insisted that he stay, assuring him that the payment would be received by the close of the night's festivities.
Cummings was outraged and appalled that Wiggins had disregarded their written agreement and proclaimed, "This is no longer about money; this is a matter of principle!"
Cummings once again informed his crew to quickly load the truck with the equipment, making it quite evident that there was no longer any room for negotiations at that point.
A vendor, Tracy Hudson of Miami, was also disappointed. He had paid $900 for his booth and was told to expect a crowd of nearly 30,000. "I had a bad feeling from the start when I had to make a number of calls and run around town in order to pay for a vending booth," Hudson said.
Raymonvil reached promoter Norris Wiggins and wrote this article that includes his comments:
After a series of challenges on Saturday, June 19, the 25th annual Carl J. Nixon Mango Festival was poised to deliver an outstanding show on Sunday.
"We dealt with some challenges and difficulties on Saturday, but worked as quickly as possible to correct them," said Norris Wiggins, the festival coordinator. "When it became necessary to replace the sound company on Saturday, the replacement company came in and set up as quickly as they could."
Saturday's show included several local artists from the tricounty area.
"They performed like true professionals and champions as they lit up the stage with their dynamic performances. I personally would like to thank each one for their patience and their performances," said Wiggins.
As Saturday's show closed out without the scheduled headliners' performances, Commissioner Sylvia Poitier addressed the audience, inviting them to return for Sunday's show, which they would be admitted to for free.
"Additionally, when R&B group Silk arrived for their Saturday performance, they greeted many fans as they headed to the stage, took pictures and signed autographs. Although they were willing to perform, Silk made it to the stage area a bit late," Wiggins explained.
To compensate for not performing on Saturday, Silk agreed to appear on Sunday's show along with Monica, Bobby Womack, Roy Ayers, Tom Browne, Wayne Henderson, and Rance Allen, all of whom were "excited and ready to perform," said Wiggins.
"All of the artists were eager to take the stage for the Mango Festival. Vendors were set up and ready to serve, but the thunderstorm that swept through Deerfield area destroyed the sound equipment, leaving us without sound just hours before opening the gates on Sunday," Wiggins explained.
"My biggest disappointment is that the community of Deerfield will not get to experience the wonderful show that was planned for them," he said.
Still committed to the Mango Festival and the Deerfield community, Wiggins expressed regret for the series of events.
"We apologize to all who were not able to experience this year's Mango Festival. Please do not let this dampen your spirit, but allow yourself to understand that a setback is only a setup for a comeback."
Wiggins also encouraged the community to continue to support the festival.
"Do not let the Mango Festival die out. It has brought greatness to the community. It has done much good work and provided work for many. It still needs your support. Let's continue to focus on the future and proper planning so that next year will not have the challenges that we experienced in 2010."
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