MAJORITY state-owned TSTT yesterday confirmed that a company owned by West Indies cricket icon, Brian Lara, was one of the main contractors for its February 18 concert with Beyonce, one of the biggest musical stars in the world. LAY Management, a company jointly owned by Lara and local football icon Dwight Yorke, has been retained by TSTT to help in the coordination and logistics associated with the event infrastructure, said TSTT spokesman Graeme Suite. TSTT's executive vice-president of mobile services, Lisa Agard, said LAY Management would assume responsibility for the venue minus stage, sound and lights when the country's largest telecommunications provider signs the contract.
Most of the work involved in putting on the show – including the stage, sound, lights, accommodation, transportation and security–will be handled by events manager Sean Burkett, who has done similar work on TSTT concerts involving top recording artistes Kanye West, Rihanna, Anita Baker and John Legend. Beyonce is coming to Trinidad with an entourage of 80 people, including her band, dancers, security and technical advisers. Questioned on the possibility the show, expected to be one of the largest ever in the country, could be moved to the Queen's Park Oval from the Savannah, Agard said: "Commercially, it makes much better sense to have the concert at a venue with pre-existing infrastructure like the Oval rather than having to build the infrastructure from scratch."
Whichever venue is eventually agreed, Agard said TSTT was hoping for a sold-out crowd of 25,000: 4,000 VVIP tickets at $1,600 each; 8,000 VIP tickets at $1,000 each and 13,000 general admission tickets at $450 each. Suite, meanwhile, dismissed reports TSTT was pulling back from its involvement in the 2010 Carnival because of its sponsorship of the Beyonce concert. He also dismissed claims TSTT was spending $10 million to bring Grammy award-winning R&B songstress Beyonce to perform in this country. Suite described as "ludicrous" and "grossly inaccurate," a report in another newspaper that TSTT was putting a $10 million dent in the public's purse to bring the superstar to T&T.
Suite said while he could not divulge the financial details of the agreement, "we can categorically state that the report is false and the union's estimates are grossly exaggerated and inaccurate." Suite also dismissed claims by president of the Communications Workers' Union (CWU), Joseph Remy, that the cost of staging the event would affect any settlement of the collective agreement with the union. "The hosting of the concert will in no way impact or compromise the eventual settlement of the collective agreement with the CWU," he said. "Both parties met before the Industrial Court since November last year. The court is still hearing the mater and will make its decision."