Festivals hit, miss int'l links
On the tail of May's second annual Tmrw.Tday Culture Festival, a week-long 'festi-vacation' of consciousness, conviction, and growth through wellness, music, art, nature, and natural therapies, is the 26th Reggae Sumfest. Sumfest 2018 takes place in Montego Bay, St James, from July 15 - 21.
Initially, Tmrw.Tday was pointedly marketed to an international audience, buoyed by suggestions to book plane tickets and hotel accommodation early. In March, the principal of Reggae Sumfest announced that it had partnered with travel booking giant Expedia. This year's festival would have been listed on the popular travel site to increase the brand's global visibility. However, they didn't go through with it.
"We would have had to sign off before March to get the full benefits of the promotion and we weren't going to receive benefits we wanted," Kimberly Blair told The Gleaner.
According to Blair, to access the full benefits package offered through the partnership with Expedia Sumfest should have signed off on the deal in January 2018.
After it's first three years, the California-based KAABOO is ready to move their festival to another country and have hit the ground running with international promotion. The KAABOO Cayman line-up includes The Chainsmokers, Duran Duran, Zedd, Jason Derulo, Bryan Adams, Counting Crows, and Flo Rida. Leading the comedy arm of the festivities will be Wanda Sykes, David Spade, Jenny Slate, and Darrell Hammond.
"In addition to being one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, Cayman also has a like-minded focus on hospitality as well as a sophisticated business infrastructure. All of this provides us great comfort in hosting KAABOO Cayman on the island," chief brand officer Jason Felts told The Gleaner.
"As a multi-sensory event, there is much more to KAABOO than music, with art, comedy, cuisine, plus a personal oasis of indulgences, to ensure there is something for everyone. We are excited to bring our signature customer service and hospitality focused brand to Cayman. Instead of locals having to travel abroad for a festival experience, KAABOO Cayman will host top-tier musical performances, world-class artwork, internationally known comedians, delectable culinary offerings, plus personal spa indulgences against a beautiful Caribbean backdrop," said Felts.
The Caribbean country has embraced KABOO. "We are excited to welcome KAABOO to the Cayman Islands for its first international festival for both locals and visitors to enjoy. The Cayman Islands' ease of accessibility to and from the US, coupled with our elite infrastructure and plenty of desirable lodging and culinary options, offers KAABOO the ideal destination for a unique Caribbean experience, "said Moses Kirkconnell, Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands. KAABOO Cayman debuts on February 15 and 16, 2019.
"Jamaica is a beautiful island with a renowned music scene and wonderful people. However, for now, we will be focused on launching and growing KAABOO Cayman. We certainly hope that guests from Jamaica will join us!" Felts said.
According to Leslie Cooney of Delicious Vinyl Island (an imprint of decades old California-based record label Delicious Vinyl), starting the imprint focused of producing Caribbean artistes and developing their tropical sounds was a feasible move. This is because there are many festivals on the US West Coast that have an interest in reggae and, going through middle and high school, reggae was a choice genre among Cooney's peers. "For me, it's not even a second thought - and I've been doing this for a long time," she told The Gleaner.
"California loves reggae. Maybe it's the weather, because it goes along with the laid-back lifestyle. The message also, the original message of reggae music was thought-provoking and now it's similar. A lot of festivals have put reggae into the format, specifically the new type of reggae, this kind of revival the people are calling it. New artistes have a home here in the West Coast, in California, Oregon and Washington. Dancehall, you find that in the club space."