The events that led to reggae star Ky-Mani Marley being a no-show at a concert late Saturday in Maui, Hawaii, revolved around greed and possible miscommunication, according to the show’s main promoter.
Thomas “T-Flatz” Fevella — a musician who played at the event dubbed the “Bob Bash” — said Marley’s manager, Victor E. Lewis of Montserrat, asked for an extra $7,000 just hours before Marley was to headline the show at the Lahaina Civic Center, which holds about 2,500 people.
Lewis, who manages Marley through his VicRae company, appeared with Marley in an awkward video early Monday in which he accepted blame for the entire incident. Lewis appeared to be dour and beleaguered during the six-minute video, which quickly went viral on social media.
T-Flatz says he and his partners spent about $30,000 to get Marley to Hawaii. This includes airfare, hotels, transfers and the performing fee for concerts in Maui on Saturday night and Honolulu the day before. Marley also performed in Kona, but T-Flatz says that was handled by a different promoter.
“I had just completed my set [Saturday night],” T-Flatz said, “so I asked Victor where Ky-Mani is. He said Ky-Mani is still at the hotel. I think Victor tried to extort us. I think he saw the money we were collecting and wanted more. I told him I didn’t have $7,000. Besides, most of our [up-front costs] were done through credit cards. I even showed him the receipts.”
T-Flatz said he’s not sure if Marley knew about the $7,000 that Lewis was requesting. Marley said during the video that Lewis misled him by saying he never received a deposit. T-Flatz said the deposit was already factored into the package deal.
“I prefer dealing with Victor because to be honest Ky-Mani is a little intimidating,” T-Flatz said. “But perhaps I should have dealt with Ky-Mani directly.”
Many fans were chanting Ky-Mani’s name and were stunned when they found out he wouldn’t appear, T-Flatz said. Many asked for refunds, which created a nightmare for the promoter because some tickets were purchased through third parties.
As a consolation, Marley performed a free concert to a standing-room only crowd at Tantes Restaurant in Maui on Sunday night. T-Flatz says Marley vowed to “make this right” before he departed Monday. He promised to return in the future to perform a concert.
T-Flatz says he and his partners will take a financial hit but he holds no ill will against Lewis. “It’s all about love,” he said. “I just want to make it right.”
Lewis did not respond to a request for comment.