When reggae band Third World exited the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival stage on Saturday January 30, they brought the curtains down on the biggest staging of the event since its inception.
2010 saw the 14th renewal of the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival, and the event moving from a three day event, to an all-out, week-long musical experience, that drew thousands of people to witness it. With prelude shows in Kingston and along the northern coast of the island, the Festival headed to its new home, The ‘Greenfield’ Stadium, for an awesome three nights of live music from performers like Babyface, Gladys Knight, Marion Hall, Erykah Badu, Hall and Oates, Machel Montano, Jon Secada, Joss Stone, and more.
“It was magnificent,” said Walter Elmore, Executive Producer for the festival. He commented that the event had stepped into a new era this year, and that “more growth is inevitable”.
The event brought in tourists yet again, filling hotel rooms, from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. “There basically wasn’t a room to be had on the North Coast. As Minister Bartlett would say, the Festival really brought ‘heads to beds’ and the week-long formula that we now have, brought tourists in earlier, and had them stay longer,” Elmore, who is also principal of TurnKey Productions, said.
Regarding the new home of the Festival, TurnKey Productions transformed the multipurpose sports stadium into a nostalgic, intimate concert venue, without losing any of the traditional Jazz and Blues Festival appeal. “Its perfect. There’s nothing missing, and we have the ocean as the backdrop,” said one patron when quizzed about the festival’s new home – The Greenfield.
“It is important to note that patrons benefited the most from this move, as the new venue allows for more and better parking, has infrastructure already in place, and allows more and more ‘jazzmaniacs’ to enjoy the feel of the Caribbean’s largest and best musical experience,” Elmore said.
He added that with a venue such as The Greenfield, TurnKey Productions could look at bringing more prestigious performers, without having to raise ticket prices.
“The Greenfield is a venue that can hold more than 17,000 people, and with that ability, we can look forward to getting bigger acts and growing more as an event”
This year’s festival was also broadcast live online at popular video streaming website LiveStream, and this also attracted several hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world. Live streaming, which was offered free of cost, was a new addition to the Festival, to accommodate music lovers globally who just couldn’t make it to the event.
“We are definitely looking to go bigger next year. The Festival is an ever-growing event, and so as new challenges arise, we have to adapt accordingly. The week-long formula worked well for us, and persons liked it. 2011 is definitely going to be a year to look forward to,” promised Elmore.
images courtesy of Headline Entertainment