40 years of Plantation Cove
Venue, partners embark on creative event series
Entertainment venues across the island were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the restrictions were lifted and the entertainment sector reopened, many of Jamaica’s popular spaces were re-energised to get back to business. St Ann’s critically acclaimed Plantation Cove is no different. The location, which has served as the backdrop for a multiplicity of live music events for the past four decades, is embarking on a lively series of concerts and cultural events dubbed Coveside Concerts.
According to Vonni Koromanti, legal counsel to Plantation Cove and creative director working with Coveside Concerts, there is a need for more creative events and approaches in each industry and at all levels.
“One thing that Plantation Cove is passionate about is the catalogue of musical greatness that Jamaica owns through our artistes and also, there is this idea about creating entertainment zones and venues, and we feel as though even if we have one without the other, we are not maximising the creative potential and not delivering the citizenry they could attract,” Koromanti told The Gleaner.
Over the last two months, major live shows, including Sting, Buju Banton and Beres Hammond’s Intimate Jamaica Concert and Rebel Salute, have been successfully staged at the Plantation Cove. Rebel Salute has called the location its home for the past eight years.
Often referred to as Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, Koromanti explained that the space has employed several strategies to preserve an atmosphere for the marriage of arts and entertainment. Actual matrimonial ceremonies are also held at the venue.
Coveside Concerts, which was conceptualised during the lockdown period in an effort to transform the location’s offerings, is a collaborative initiative including musicians, vocalists, poets, and technical practitioners in the creative industries. It has a mandate of promoting the music of yesteryear with a view of safeguarding Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage while inspiring emerging and trending artistes to aim for distinction. Under the musical direction of Desmond ‘Desi’ Jones, Coveside Concerts will have its official launch this weekend with Timeless on Saturday, February 11, featuring Chalice Band, Boris Gardiner and Ken Boothe as its three headlining acts.
There are also plans to upgrade the venue. “We want to be able to transform it into multiple venues; instead of seeing it as one huge venue that unless you have a major show, then it’s not for you, we want persons to see the imaginable that several events can happen concurrently. For example, Timeless happens on Saturday but on Sunday we welcome the Ocho Rios Orchid Society. So, whether for live performances, fashion shows and artisan markets, or large-scale international stage shows or music festivals, it is the place to be, as a place where people come to make memories,” she said. “It has already been opened to a wide cross-section, and people of different generations through these larger events, what we are curating is a sequence of classic Jamaican creative offerings with a focus on home-grown internationally renowned talent. The difference between a concert and a stage show is the amount of artistes featured – stage shows have a breadth of, rather than a depth of musical acts and with Timeless we chose three leading names, because we believe three is a magical number and it was practical for each performer to receive a full 45-minute set.”
Popular vocalist Keisha Patterson and The Skool Band are also featured as opening acts.
The 126-acre space promises a further 10 to 15 events and experiences for the rest of the year with Merritone on the Beach on March 25, Murder She Wrote, featuring Chaka Demus and Pliers, on April 29, and Life Is Just For Living on May 20 already confirmed on the Coveside Concerts calendar. Lovers and Friends is also being held at Plantation Cove this month.
“It like we’re taking our guests on a tour and it is much more than just a landmark and venue. Ideally, we would like to see a nexus of concerts and cultural offerings at Plantation Cove and with each concert, we want to bridge the gap between those whom have gone ahead and those we want to see in the future,” Koromanti offered.
Amanda Maffessanti, property manager for Plantation Cove, emphasised that the space has existed out of a love for community and culture.
“Throughout its 40 years, Plantation Cove has been in the same family and has never changed, which demonstrates our strong family values and we believe in curating events which promise to be enriching and fun for the entire family. Going forward, we want persons to recognise that it is certainly the premier event space in the Caribbean and that any type of event can be had there, and we want Jamaica to come out and enjoy quality performances with us,” Maffessanti said.