Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
The air was heady with the scent of Jamaica's favourite dark beer, as patrons filed into the National Indoor Sports Centre to celebrate Sir Arthur Guinness Day on Thursday.
The venue was jam-packed as patrons gathered for the festivities, celebrating the life and legacy of the man who started it all, Sir Arthur Guinness. There were even some patrons outside watching the performances on a big screen provided for those who were not up for the crowd inside.
One would have expected it to be unbearably hot inside, given the crowded venue, but the air was cool, although not as chilled as the Guinness that was being served at the heavily stocked bars.
A raised platform in the centre of the stadium acted as the VIP section, which was also crammed with barely any room to move, although no one seemed to mind. The VIPs were treated to scrumptious morsels to compliment the intoxicating performances throughout the night.
And the performances were definitely worth it. The artistes performed all their greatest hits in a bid to entertain the massive audience.
Most of the patrons seemed to have showed up just for the performances rather than to celebrate the Irishman whose last name has become a bar staple.
SIZZLA THE FAVOURITE
The crowd's favourite for the night was clearly Sizzla Kolanji. Every song he performed incited a frenzy among the crowd. His performance proved a hard one to follow as the show's closing act, Mavado, failed to get the crowd as riled up as Sizzla did. Many patrons even started to leave during the Gully God's performance.
Guinness brand manager, Racquel Nevins, explained to The Gleaner that the Arthur Guinness Day celebrations were more than just about the live performances.
According to Nevins, Sir Arthur Guinness was well known for being a diligent philanthropist and, in commemoration, Guinness will be selecting 10 humanitarians who will benefit from funding to fuel their individual projects so they may continue their altruistic deeds.
"We have a total of 30 nominees to date; then we will have a shortlist of 18 big-hearted individuals from which we will select our top 10," Nevins explained.
Nevins revealed that the top 10 will be announced later on this month.
"We have a judging panel of six that is meticulously going over each project and making sure that the impact these people are making is sustainable and is beneficial to large numbers of people," Nevins added.
Since 2009 the fourth Thursday in September has been celebrated as Arthur's Day. Jamaica joined in on the trend in 2010 with a massive celebration which included international recording artistes, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean and Shaggy.