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Jamaican Legend Drops Out Of Bluesfest 2014: “He Took A Bigger Offer”

Written by James Arnold-Garvey on October 11, 2013

Representatives for Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014 have announced that Ernest Ranglin, who was set to appear at the festival as part of the Jamaican Legends show featuring Sly & Robbie and Bitty McClean, has pulled out of the festival.

While Ranglin claims he was never approached to appear at the festival, Bluesfest say this is not the case and that the 81-year-old has simply accepted a “bigger offer” to appear elsewhere around the same time he was scheduled to play the Australian festival.

Bluesfest say there has been some contention surrounding Ranglin’s representation. Booking his appearance through one agent they had dealt with on a previous tour, the festival was then approached by another agent in France who also claimed to represent the ska legend.

Ranglin now claims the first agent no longer represents him, despite that agency claiming to have “numerous emails” from Ranglin accepting the Bluesfest tour. The festival now claims Ranglin will tour Europe thanks to the French agent.

Bluesfest say they are “profoundly disappointed” Ranglin has reneged on their previous agreement, taking the unusual step of calling him out on his behaviour by speculating that he simply chose to take an offer of more money from somewhere else:

“Read into this what you will! What we read into it, after having successfully toured Ernest Ranglin on two previous occasions via different representatives, among the many who claim to represent him, is that he took a bigger offer after having previously confirmed ours.”

Though Ranglin’s name has been stripped from the bill, Bluesfest are still looking at “other options” for presenting Sly & Robbie and Bitty McClean, as the two acts say they would still like to come to Australia.

The 2014 edition of the Byron Bay Bluesfest kicks off on 17th April, with the lineup set to feature John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Erykah Badu, The Doobie Brothers and a whole heap more. You can read the full statement from Bluesfest below.

Statement from Bluesfest re Ernest Ranglin:

“In dealing with all the artists from any one country in the world, Jamaica has been one of the more difficult over the years for Bluesfest. Numerous agents claim to represent Jamaican artists and it is difficult to know who is currently representing whom.

Bluesfest contacted the agent who represented Ernest Ranglin the first time we toured him and booked, from him, the Jamaican Legends Tour. We were also approached by another agent in France, also claiming to represent Ernest Ranglin.

Ernest Ranglin has now contacted Bluesfest to advise he was never approached to come to Australia and tour with Sly & Robbie and Bitty McLean as The Jamaican Legends.

He also claims the agency we approached no longer represents him. This agency insists they have numerous emails between themselves and Ernest Ranglin clearly stating his acceptance of the Australian Tour.

Ernest Ranglin has now accepted other shows in Europe from the French agent that conflict with the Bluesfest Tour. Last time we toured Ernest he had a Jamaican agent !!!

Sly and Robbie and Bitty Mclean say they still would like to come to Australia and tour so Bluesfest is removing Ernest Ranglin’s name from The Jamaican Legend’s line-up whilst other options are explored.

Read into this what you will !! What we read into it, after having successfully toured Ernest Ranglin on two previous occasions via different representatives, among the many who claim to represent him, is that he took a bigger offer after having previously confirmed ours.

We are profoundly disappointed and all we can say is: “Watch this space !!”

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