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I LOVE SOCA Jamaica aims to develop Jamaican carnival

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Andrew Bellamy

Curtis Campbell and Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writers

For centuries, the expression 'third time's the charm' has meant much to many.

But promoters of I LOVE SOCA 'Soca Bliss', Andrew Bellamy, Ian Bourne, Denver Holt and Ricki Walsh, aim to go one better.

The event is being staged for the second time on 'Carnival Wednesday', April 11, at The Palms (Giscombe Gym's rooftop), 107A Constant Spring Road.

Introduced to carnival lovers during last year's carnival week, I LOVE SOCA held its own as a freshman among seniors in the competitive carnival season.

Bellamy, director of the I LOVE SOCA Ja and Island Mas Jamaica groups, said the Appleton Estate and Pure Country-sponsored event will feature the best of the best - endless premium liquor, great music, a safe venue with no parking woes, and a great atmosphere. Patrons will be feted by DEI Musicale out of Trinidad, DJ Smoke, Coppershot's Sanjay and Richie R.A.S. The drink menu includes top-shelf beverages such as Appleton Reserve, Appleton Estate, Patron, Baileys, Johnnie Walker Black, Vodka, Wray & Nephew, Pure Country Juices, and Red Bull.

This year, the event is not only about a bottle of rum or relieving stress. The promoters have their goals set much further.

"Carnival in Jamaica has been on a journey. It has come a very far way, however, it's time for us to play our part in taking it up a few notches by providing quality entertainment at an affordable price, which we've been doing through the I LOVE SOCA movement," said Bellamy.

They want to see the carnival season where they believe it should be in Jamaica - appealing not only to the soca lovers in Jamaica, but as a respected and recognised festival within the region, appealing to the Caribbean diaspora and even tourists who visit the land of wood and water.

Improved marketing strategies

This, the promoters believe, can be done through improved marketing strategies, enhancing the quantity and quality of carnival events, and according to Bellamy, producing "a greater unified push in the development of carnival from the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment will be instrumental in developing our carnival further into a regionally recognised and socio-economically prudent venture for both private and public sectors".

"We need to develop our carnival into a structured weeklong group of events incorporating all walks of life. There should be a standard set by all carnival festivals regionally, which will make it easily marketable to locals and tourists, revellers and sponsors. Our carnival needs to include our dancehall culture and our heritage infused with our emancipation as a people and our lost history, such as Jonkanoo. This will not only help to educate and entertain but in fact help us to develop our own carnival style, music and presentations," Bellamy went on to explain.

Tickets for I LOVE SOCA 'Soca Bliss' are available at Giscombe Gym & Wellness Centre, 107a Constant Spring Road, Muffin Top Cafe in New Kingston, and Xtras. Those tickets cost $2,500 presold while patrons will have to pay $3,000 at the gate, with a two-for-one special for females before midnight.