Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
After four sold-out nights of drills, athleticism and music, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has been receiving commendations for the staging of the Jamaica Military Tattoo (JMT) 2012.
"We are happy we were able to, by all appearances, entertain and inform our patrons. We had some issues on the first night ... regarding traffic management that we managed to sort out the following night, and we had some lessons learned," said Major Kevron Henry, assistant event director of the JMT 2012.
He said coming out of such a large production, there would always be a few glitches but, overall, the organisers were happy with the execution.
"We're happy that we were able to share our celebration, not only with our people, but also with those coming in from overseas," he said.
Henry said the JDF had been getting positive feedback on social-media networks and via phone calls.
"What we realise, for most people, what they didn't expect was the scale of the production. A lot of people came because they heard about it, but they didn't have any idea what it was about," he said.
Henry also noted that some people, despite it being a military show, didn't expect the event to start on time. "So a lot of people on the first night missed out on most of the first half of the show," he revealed.
He said patrons said they were taken aback by the production, noting the work of event-planning company Image One, which did the much-talked-about backdrop of Newcastle and other pieces depicting Buckingham Palace.
"They (patrons) were also quite pleasantly surprised that, in some cases, there was a nationalistic twist to it, and that was deliberate. That was about the JDF pushing all the issues about Jamaica and our ties to it and our support of the island."
COLLABORATION WITH OTHER COUNTRIES
He revealed that the foreign bands arrived about a week before the JMT and had a chance to interact with Jamaicans during lunch-hour concerts at the Sagicor Centre, Sovereign Centre and Devon House. He said the JDF had been receiving offers from other tattoos to perform, but nothing had been finalised. He also noted the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force had even consulted with the JDF about a possible tattoo to celebrate the twin-island republic's 50th year of Independence in late August.
"We should be hearing very shortly about their timeline," he said.
Henry said Jamaicans have been making suggestions about future tattoos.
"The questions have been pouring in about extending it, or having encore performances islandwide. We hear the calls but … as you realise, it's a large-scale operation."
He said even though it was 29 years between tattoos, this one took hard-core planning over the last two and a half years. He pointed out that other tattoos have a full-time staff to plan them. He also noted that aside from the logistics side, getting constant sponsorship backing would also be key.
"Furthermore, we have to ensure that it is done properly. We don't want to water this down at all because it is very significant to us and we hope it becomes very significant to the Jamaican psyche. We don't want it to get to a situation where it's done just to appease," he said.
"Anything that the JDF associates itself with must be done to that high level that we strive for at all times. Hopefully though, it won't be as long as 29 years."