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Organisers committed to core audience

Published:Monday | May 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMMelville Cooke

In 2013, the year before the event was moved to Grizly's Plantation Cove and grew into the Jamaica Sound System Festival, the then Bass Odyssey anniversary event was held in Runaway Bay. St Ann. Yaniq Walford of Bass Odyssey estimates that event attracted over 2,000 persons. Moving to Grizzly's pushed that number to well over 3,000, and she estimates that in 2015, the attendance was over 4,000.

That figure stabilised last year, when the threat of rain affected the festival.

Going forward, she hopes for much more - but not at the risk of losing the audience which has stuck with the festival for a long time. It is an unintended effect that some sponsors may have.

"Some sponsors (activities) get to the point where people complain that it is getting drawn out; they talk too much," Walford said. S

he said that some sponsors know that an event is big and attracts many people, "but they do not do the groundwork to see the best way to do it (their involvement)."

And, for a sound system festival, often "they want it to be more upmarket when it is really a downmarket product that people from the upmarket will want to attend and enjoy it anyway." She emphasised that "the majority of the Jamaican market is the downmarket (economically) people".




So although there are some adjustments to the format to prevent the festival from being the same thing every year, Walford said the entrance price remains the same.

Including sound systems from outside Jamaica widens the festival's scope and this year King Addies from the USA and Amar from Israel are on the line-up. Walford said so far about 20 people are expected to some from Israel to see Amar and the other sound systems play, part of a trek to the island where the music they love comes from.

And even as she looks at the sponsorship and marketing attention carnival and various parties benefit from, Walford referred to the Boxing Day event Sting and said if it can be affected by lack of support then "any show can die".