Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
The annual GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza has garnered a winning reputation over the past 12 years and is now looking to once again provide one-of-a-kind entertainment in this, its 13th year.
Unfortunate circumstances almost halted the production of the Christmas concert, but the Jamaican stage show Santa Claus, GT Taylor himself, was determined to continue the seasonal tradition.
Last year the GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza faced a tumultuous economic climate but still persevered for the benefit of its loyal patrons.
Now, the annual concert is faced with another discouraging obstacle a lack of sponsors.
According to Taylor, the three-year contracts that were drafted with the major sponsors of the event have expired and none of these sponsors are seeking a renewal.
Taylor claims that according to the ex-sponsors their budget does not allow them to re-invest in the concert.
NO SPONSORSHIP FOR DANCEHALL SHOWS
Taylor also said that other potential sponsors that he has approached either shared the same sentiment or are adamant that they do not back dancehall shows.
However, the show must go on as Taylor has decided that he will not disappoint the eager fans who are looking forward to the event.
As usual, December 25 will be a day of cultural celebration for some 30,000 people as they share in the gift of dancehall music.
Putting on the show this year will not be an easy feat and will take a little more than sheer determination. According to Taylor, he has done everything from taking out loans to depleting his own personal funds to make sure that the fat lady does not sing.
"We've created something that people look forward to every year and that's who we're doing it for - the people," Taylor said.
Taylor also says that there are communities that benefit from the show which is staged at the Independence Park in Black River, and he is determined to continue the contribution.
The GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza is still looking for sponsors, Taylor says, and he is hopeful as he believes that the event moves products.
Regardless of the setbacks, fans should still expect a massive show this year. According to Taylor, this year is all about high-class and high-energy dancehall/reggae entertainment.
Taylor also says that security will be beefed up this year so that patrons can feel at ease and focus on enjoying the show.
Known for showcasing the latest in dancehall talent, the GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza has decided to go for the veterans this time around as Taylor says 'skill rules', which is also the theme for this year's event.
Taylor admitted to have faced some difficulty in acquiring some of the new dancehall acts as he says that they charge exorbitant fees while they only have one or two hit tunes under their belts and have barely made a name for themselves.
It was unrealistic to pay these young bloods like they were veterans in Taylor's view, and so he went straight for the giants of the industry.
Included in the line-up of 29 artistes are some of reggae and dancehall's biggest acts, such as Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Sizzla just to name a few.
The event is not about any one artiste though, Taylor says. The GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza is what the spirit of Christmas is all about: people coming together in selfless beneficence.