... Set to target hotels, cruise ship clients
The Ocho Rios Carnival Road March maintained five static bands, named primarily from elements of Jamaican culture.
Sponsored by Lucozade, you will find the Maroons clad in pink. The Arawaks, sponsored by Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records, wear purple, and the Tainos sponsored by Red Bull, wear blue. There are also the Red Ants, sponsored by Smirnoff, and Soca Junkies (this year sponsored by Berger Paints).
"We know that Jamaicans are used to being in houses from sports day. There's that same excitement - wanting your band to outdo the other. So, every year, you come back in the same band," event promoter Julius Morgan explained.
Through the recent development of the Carnival in Jamaica brand (by the Jamaica Tourist Board), Lawrence hopes for increased patronage to Ocho Rios Carnival. The expectation is that destination managers will market the carnival festivities to overseas clientele.
"One of the things that we're also looking to do is get the hotels involved by virtue of their guests," he said.
The promoters also hope to one day capitalise on the cruise ship industry.
"We're trying to play our part in the tourism thrust by getting the cruise ships (one or two) on Carnival day next year so they can be a part of the road march as well. We have a major tailgate in the venue that's in the middle of Ocho Rios - Turtle River Park. If we can get the tourists to come in, then we can even sell booth spaces to regular Jamaicans so they can sell to these 'cruise' people. That's our next step, and we've started working on it already," said Morgan.
As they have been working assiduously to grow the Ocho Rios Carnival brand, as well as keep the All-Island Carnival dream alive, the promoters found it necessary to put other towns and parishes on the back burner. "[The dream] is not dead, but it's very expensive. What we have learnt over the years is that if the complete investment is not there, then don't do it," Lawrence said.