Sadeke Brooks, Entertainment Reporter
Reggae Month is only a few weeks away and the organisers of the yearly event are still struggling to fill the gap in their $48-million budget.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday on Burlington Avenue in St Andrew, Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Chairman Ibo Cooper explained that the organisation was still having difficulties raising funds to host Reggae Month in February. He noted that they have received $23 million in sponsorship from various media entities, but that does not include the $48 million they need to host the 22 events throughout the month.
"The media finds it something worthy of support, but the Government and private sector are out of touch," Cooper said.
And despite the US$6 million that Reggae Month brings in terms of earnings, he noted that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has only committed to giving JaRIA a mere 30 per cent of what they gave the organisation in sponsorship last year.
And so, they are woefully short of what is needed to host Reggae Month activities.
"The $23 million in sponsorship (from media) is in straight ads. We need to raise $48 million to host the event. So, it helps us in terms of the promotion of the event," JaRIA Executive Director Charles Campbell, told The Gleaner.
"We are not close (to the target) to be honest. We are still hopeful that the Government will see fit to increase the amount of money they have offered through the JTB or through other agencies. We are very hopeful that CHASE will come back on board as they have every year, but that deal is not yet concluded and we are in discussions with various private-sector entities. Hopefully. we will attain our budget through sponsorship from both the private and public sectors," said Campbell.
As it relates to the actual dollars that they have received from the JTB, Campbell refused to give numbers as he says an appeal has been filed to the Government.
"I am very optimistic. We don't have a plan B because we are very confident that in the long run people will see the benefit of coming on board, especially with the advertising budget that we have. It now makes it a good business proposition for both public and private sector," he said.
He is also looking forward to events on the Reggae Month calendar like Reggae Wednesdays, Trade Fair, Trench Town Rock, Tribute to Dennis Brown, Sound System Explosion and the JaRIA Honour Awards.