Jazzin' up Trelawny - Tonight's festival expected to reap millions in tourist dollars
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Multi-Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds will be the major drawing card when the 17th staging of the much-anticipated Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival moves into its new home - the spacious and exquisitely decorated Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium - for the first time tonight.
The R&B superstar, whose repertoire includes hits such as For The Cool In You, It's No Crime, Never Keeping Secrets, Change The World and When Men Grow Old, will share the spotlight with fellow international stars The Whispers, Joss Stone, Jamaica's Monty Alexander and Joe Roy Jackson.
"While we are at a new venue, we are still expecting the same friendly and inviting ambience that existed at Cinnamon Hill and the Aqueduct of Rose Hall, in Montego Bay, in our first 16 years," said Walter Elmore, Turnkey Productions' chief executive officer.
"We are expecting another fantastic festival."
The event, one of the stellar attractions on the local tourism calendar, has attracted over J$40 million in government sponsorship, but according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica stands to earn a whopping J$267 million from the internationally renowned event.
"This festival is doing wonders for our tourism, as it is offering visitors a week-long opportunity to come here and enjoy Jamaica," Minister Bartlett told The Gleaner recently. "As a Government, we are fully supportive of any venture that brings in visitors from all over the world, filling up airline seats and hotel rooms."
Limelight for falmouth
The town of Falmouth, which will be hosting its biggest event since the 2007 opening ceremony for the ICC Cricket World Cup, is welcoming the festival with open arms, as business and tourism stakeholders are hoping it will bring additional investment to the parish.
"We feel that it will generate an inflow of tourists and spotlight the parish in an international way," said businessman Dennis Seivwright, the president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce.
"We hope that it will attract interest in other investment areas in terms of development, particularly the cruise ship pier in Falmouth."
Having spent the better part of the last month working overtime to replicate the kind of setting, that patrons had grown to love and appreciate at the two Montego Bay venues over the past 16 years, at the Trelawny stadium, Junior Taylor, festival coordinator, is pleased with the result.
"It will be every bit as lovely as it was in Montego Bay, with more space for even greater comfort," said Taylor.
Tomorrow will feature the likes of Erykah Badu, Billy Ocean, Machel Montano, Robin Banks, Queens Project - Tamia, Kelly Price and Deborah Cox, while Saturday night boasts Gladys Knight, Third World, Hall & Oates, Jon Secada and Marion Hall (Lady Saw).