Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Opposition spokesperson on culture Olivia 'Babsy' Grange is calling on local event managers to direct some of their focus on the production of events, featuring live performances.
According to the former minister, there exists a vacuum in the Jamaican entertainment industry as it relates to the availability of live events. She also said the majority of local events were overly focused on foreign music instead of Jamaican culture.
Grange, who worked with two-time Grammy Award-winning deejay, Shabba Ranks, disclosed that a minister of government in the Ivory Coast is scheduled to host a major reggae festival in Africa in 2015. She added that the festival would be both educational and musical and is expected to pull a comparable audience to Rototom Sunsplash festivals.
According to Grange, the Ivory Coast minister visited Jamaica recently on a business trip and hoped that during his stay he would have got a taste of the live music offerings on the island. But sadly, there was none to choose from É despite the large number of events both outdoors and indoors.
"When he came here he had no options and that was embarrassing. He said he can't believe he came to Jamaica and no clubs played live music. He was also surprised that foreign music was being played more than reggae music," Grange said.
According to the former minister, she orchestrated the hosting of several live events over the years along with her associates. She also says she feels compelled to take things into her own hands by starting her own live music movement.
Grange pointed out that she had helped to promote and plan live events like Reggae Mango Season, Live and Direct, Duppy Nights at Devon House and Buccaneer Banquet alongside Delroy Thompson.
"The experience gave me an awakening. There is an event at Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records, but that Tuesday there was none, it came to me that I personally should do something," she said.
Grange also revealed that she has been contemplating hosting an event called Reggae Live and Unplugged. She also hinted that there was a particular club in her mind that she thinks would provide a suitable platform for live music.
She also encourages Corporate Jamaica to provide sponsorship for young promoters who are bold enough to try something new, especially if it involves the preservation of Jamaican culture.
"I think we don't have a lot of live events because of the funding, because they can't produce these events without funding and they need sponsorship to settle their expenses. It is very sad that there is little live music in Jamaica and promoters should take up the challenge," she said.
Grange also encourages investors who appreciate Jamaica's culture to invest in its promotion and production. She believes by doing this, the youth will gradually follow the same path. The former minister also stated that she wants to hear more Jamaican content on local radio.
"I believe in insisting that every station should be playing Jamaican content and when I am in the position, I will follow up on that," she concluded.