Red Rose in Kingston
The demise of the annual Montego Bay-based Jazz and Blues Festival has left music enthusiasts hungry for an event of similar style and content, to fill that void. According to Wallace Wyndham, marketing director for the annual Red Rose for Gregory show, people in the streets of Montego Bay, having recognised some similarity between both shows, see it as a worthwhile replacement.
However, Gregory Issacs’ widow, June, the main organiser of the show, although agreeing (to some extent) with those sentiments, is adamant that the show should remain in Kingston. “We are paying tribute to Gregory, who is from the heart of downtown Kingston. The mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, Delroy Williams, who is the patron of this event, encourages events like these in Kingston, which we totally agree with.” She noted that in addition, Kingston has always been the home of the Red Rose for Gregory show, ever since its inception in 2017, and with the city being declared one of UNESCO’s cultural treasures, the decision to keep the show in Kingston is further reinforced.
Red Rose for Gregory, which is now in its third year, is tailored primarily to suit the sentimentally inclined, and leans heavily in favour of romance, being held in the Valentine’s Day period. Slated for this Sunday, Febuary 17, at the Liguanea Club, the show is designed to portray the lover’s rock image of Issacs, while perpetuating the memory of ‘the cool ruler’ at home and abroad. To this end, the shows so far have seen overseas acts which include Atlantic Star and Kelly Price.
Intent on retaining the lover’s image in the show, the organisers have included the overseas romantic balladeers Peabo Bryson, Regina Bell and their band in the line-up. Also on the card are established bands – Roots Radics and Fab 5, providing the backing for Junior Sinclair, Lukani, Boris Gardiner, Robert Minott, and Anchor Records’ new singing sensation A’lisa. The sensational female saxophonist – Megumi, out of the UK, will put her skills on display. Young, up-and-coming artistes Khausion and Sativa, along with Rey Isaacs (Gregory’s nephew), will comprise the opening acts.
Marketing director Wallace Wyndham sees the show as a catalyst to the enhancement of the tourism industry, and views it as a replacement for the annual Jazz and Blues Festival of previous years. But could the Red Rose for Gregory show be the new Jazz and Blues Festival?