Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
In the year when the rhythm fell to the recession, it is easier to count the major Jamaican artiste-centred concerts that have survived than the ones which have fallen by the wayside, even temporarily. The Big Three - Rebel Salute in January, Reggae Sumfest in July and Sting in December - have remained intact, but each has had the benefit of a new or returning major sponsor in Pepsi, Red Stripe and LIME, respectively. G.T. Taylor's Christmas Extravaganza has also survived and is getting marquee support from Jagra.
The Tivoli incursion had a major impact on not just the community itself, but the concerts put on by persons from that area and affiliated ones. So Champions in Action, a staple coming up to the end of summer on the dancehall concert circuit, was not held this year, after the May incursion. Neither was Spring Bling, held by persons from the community of Common on Red Hills Road. Island Explosion, staged by affiliates in May Pen on Christmas Eve, is off and not much has been heard about West Kingston Jamboree, held inside Tivoli Gardens at year-end.
Another noted event which has bit the dust, if only for this year, is the December Welcome to Jamrock, held at the Constant Spring Football Field, as well as Beres Hammond's Moment concert; instead, there will be A Private Moment with Beres - the Black, White, Gold edition on New Year's Eve.
However, coming up to year-end, the involvement of telecommunications companies Digicel and LIME, as well as beverage entities Red Stripe and Magnum, has been nothing short of remarkable. While many private promoters have fallen by the wayside, the companies have stepped up to a frenetic pace, Digicel (resting its laurels heavily on I-Octane) and LIME (which has a slew of top artistes, including Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer and Mavado on their roster) launching their Christmas campaigns with major free concerts and continuing with islandwide treks to major town centres.
Red Stripe has hosted two major events, the Arthur Guinness Celebration at the National Stadium in late October, and the block party with Vybz Kartel and many others in New Kingston two Sundays ago.
The events have been by and large massive and free, a very hard act for private promoters to follow as product promotion concerts have taken over from outright shows coming up to the end of 2010.