JAZZ FESTIVAL, Better at new venue
This year's 14th anniversary staging will find the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in more spacious surroundings at the picturesque Greenfield stadium in Trelawny.
Festival organisers have promised to enhance the aesthetics of the field and increase the festival's capacity. Bonfires and special lighting at the entrance similar to those on stage as well as unique décor are among the features that patrons can expect to see.
Walter Elmore of Turnkey Productions, the producer of the event, told Saturday Social that music lovers are in for a wonderful treat and plans are fully under way for another successful production.
"We are well advanced in construction at the venue, artiste flights and accommodations have been confirmed and we have begun receiving equipment necessary for the production of a successful show," said Elmore.
"We are right on track, it's all systems go," he added.
Elmore is cognisant of the fact that patrons, are unfamiliar with the new venue, but wished to allay their fears by saying that this year will be just as good if not better than years gone by.
"We have an amazing line-up, and are paying strict attention to detail at the venue. We will be using the centre field, so we are basically going to recreate the original jazz venue and more on the field. That's over 30,000 square feet of intimate surroundings. Through comments and suggestions from our patrons, we are making sure we step up to the plate and create an extraordinary event," Elmore revealed.
He further noted that consideration for the patrons was a factor in the decision to change the venue. With the ongoing construction of the convention centre across from Rose Hall, patrons would likely be inconvenienced by the waiting periods for shuttle service.
No traffic problems
He gave his assurance that there would be no traffic or parking problems. We considered all the traffic jams we had in Rose Hall and now are happy to say that there will no issues this year at this new venue.
"The new four-lane highway should alleviate all traffic issues. The new location is right off this highway, so there will be no headaches. The venue already has ample parking facilities on the stadium grounds and the adjoining lot will also be utilised," Elmore stated.
"We have gained the assistance of the police, who have helped us to formulate a comprehensive traffic plan to avoid all of the traffic problems," he added.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, said that she is thrilled that the stadium is being used in this way.
"The facilities are well kept. The field is the perfect location for the festival," the minister commented.
The existing infrastructure and facilities at the venue which includes turnstiles, bathrooms, electricity and dressing rooms would save some 30 per cent of the usual costs, Elmore advised.
"We will be able to complete this venue in less time than previous years because of these added benefits," he said.
"The food court will boast 18 different stands and the prices will be reasonable. As always, security will be top notch," he noted.
Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager endorsed the move by Turnkey Productions to come to Trelawny as he believes the town will benefit from the exposure.
"Not only will Trelawny benefit from this event but the stadium will be put to good use. We can't forget the grand spectacle of the opening ceremony of the CWC games, how wonderfully executed that was. We, therefore, look forward to wonderful things come jazz fest," the mayor said.
Skyboxes would be located on the field in the VIP area. There will be about 20 air-conditioned skyboxes available in the grandstand with balcony seating.
Frederique Asberg, country manager for Heineken, one of the sponsors, said she was fully in support of the use of the new venue and highlighted the fact that it would be ideal for such an event.
In terms of production, Elmore said that there will be a completely new look for the stage with a brand new LED system as the backdrop.
"The stage will be the usual size and the small stage will be erected in the food court area as usual. We always go First World when it comes to technology. In addition to the LED system, we will be using the high-end Meyer Milo line array to ensure that the sound and lighting are of the highest quality. As usual, patrons can expect nothing short of the best in terms of the production of this event," he added.
The festival begins on Sunday, January 24 and runs through to Saturday, January 30. It will feature Gladys Knight, Jon Secada, Babyface, Joss Stone, The Queen Project, Billy Ocean, Maxi Priest, Marion Hall, Robin Banks and Hall & Oates. The event is world renowned for its impeccable line-up, first-class production and incomparable organisation.
Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager - File photos
Sports Minister Olivia Grange