Live In The City funds charity
Event organiser André Marriott-Blake hopes to highlight Jamaican talents, while giving back to charity with Live in the City.
The live music series started last week at Cru Bar and Kitchen, 71 Lady Musgrave Road, St Andrew, with Konshens as the main act. Proceeds from that staging went to 22-year-old law student Lanesa Downs, who was recently diagnosed with lupus, which causes the body's immune system to become hyperactive and attack healthy tissue.
Marriott-Blake, a classmate of Brown at the Norman Manley Law School on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), said he saw the need for a new live music event. "We realised that we could use it to translate into something charitable," he told The Gleaner.
For the first staging on August 20, he said, all proceeds went to Brown. And for the second staging on September 3 with Tarrus Riley, part proceeds will go to the artiste's Christmas charity.
Marriott-Blake said expectations were surpassed by the first show in the series. "It was amazing. We were overwhelmed with the turnout. We had three days to do it, so we were concerned about if we were going to pull it off," he said, noting that patrons received cocktails on entry.
However, Marriott-Blake said he does not want Live in the City to become congested and he plans to accommodate between 300 and 400 persons for each staging. "Based on last week's turnout, we were thinking of bringing it downstairs but that depends on the act. If we can get someone like a Beres, we might go downstairs so we can accommodate that," he said.
Marriott-Blake also stressed that the fortnightly event will begin at exactly 9 p.m., so patrons should come out early.
And after the series' initial run ends in October, he hopes Live in the City will return for another season. "If we can find a way that is entertaining and translate it into a charitable endeavour, we want to continue that. We want to make it a mainstay in Jamaica," Marriott-Blake told The Gleaner.
Marriott-Blake is extremely grateful to sponsors Mercedes-Benz and CPJ. "The reality is that the economy is bad and it is a new event. There were difficulties. In the midst of the storm we had some sponsors jumping on board. We hope we have proven ourselves in the three days (it took to plan the event)," he said, adding that there are now other sponsors like Touchstone Tickets, ADS Global and Clear Sounds Production Services.
He is also grateful that Konshens decided to do the event at the last minute, even waiving his performance fee. "Konshens is recovering from laryngitis and even with his limitations he couldn't say no for this girl that he didn't even know. I really appreciate that," Marriott-Blake said.
Above all, he is happiest that he was able to provide some assistance for Brown.
"It (proceeds) can help with the hospital bills, help her cause. She was very close to death. She's a survivor. She's fighting it with a brave face," he said.