Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
Kingston, St Mary and Ocho Rios will come alive when the 22nd staging of the Jamaica International Ocho Rios Festival takes place from June 9-17.
The event has noticeably downsized the number of activities it normally has, but director of the festival, Myrna Hague-Bradshaw says this will not detract from the splendid line-up and offerings of the festival.
"Sponsorship has been very thin because as it is Jamaica 50, a lot of events are on and sponsors are stretched as much as they can possibly be stretched to support as many events as they possibly can," she explained.
She also highlighted that the Jamaica International Ocho Rios Festival is the only jazz festival that is held in Jamaica.
"This is a jazz festival that is a jazz festival as opposed to festivals that carry the name jazz but don't actually have any jazz or blues in them," she said.
Hague-Bradshaw stated that in honour of Jamaica's 50th anniversary, the festival will this year focus on Jamaican jazz.
"This year the festival is focusing on Jamaican jazz and we'll be looking back across the past to see what we have produced and created in terms of jazz and how jazz music in Jamaica has affected the other popular music forms that have come about in Jamaica," she told The Gleaner.
Jason Hall, deputy director of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), re-confirmed its commitment to the event and applauded the Jamaica International Ocho Rios Festival for its commitment to excellence.
Desmond Young, president of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians, says festivals such as these aid in the preservation of Jamaican music and culture.
"Here is a festival where you get authentic jazz music being played and so the young people can come and see and emulate someone they admire. This festival provides a place for musicians to play and showcase their craft. Credit must go to the vision of Sony Bradshaw and the persistence of Myrna," he said.
June 9 start
The festival will commence on June 9 at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston and will then journey to St Mary for a jazz dinner and will finally close on Father's Day, June 17 at Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios.
Throughout the week-long event, musicians will also be able to participate in nightly jam sessions to be held at Hotel Four Seasons and will also have the opportunity to attend a workshop at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
This year's staging of the event will feature performances from Marie Claire out of Dominica, Karen Smith from Jamaica, Ba Boom from Brazil and Jimmy James, a member of the Vagabonds from England.
Hague-Bradshaw says persons should definitely attend the event because it promises to be worthwhile.
"The music is gonna be good. It's gonna be fun. Father's Day is going to be a real fabulous day, it's going to be a family day. You can just come to the jazz festival and just lyme, and discover jazz if you haven't discovered it already," she said.