New venue for GT Extravaganza?
AFTER 12 years at Independence Park in Black River, St Elizabeth, promoter GT Taylor says he is considering relocating his Christmas Extravaganza show.
The 13th staging of the event took place on Christmas Day and drew an estimated 8,000 patrons. But Taylor says it has become too costly to rent Independence Park which is run by the St Elizabeth Parish Council.
"If I don't get any assistance from the powers that be, I'll seriously consider moving out of the parish 'cause others are asking," Taylor told Splash.
He says the rental fee for Independence Park is his biggest concern. It cost $260,000 to use the venue last month, a figure Taylor believes is too high considering the poor state of the facility.
"There's no proper fencing or bathrooms...We had to pay for these things from our own pocket," he said.
Without going into details, Everton Fisher, mayor of Black River and head of the St Elizabeth Parish Council, acknowledged there are "problems" at Independence Park but hopes "an amicable arrangement can be reached between council and Mr Taylor."
According to Fisher, once the parish council gets its books in order, they will hold a meeting with Taylor.
"It would be regrettable if the show moved," he said.
The inaugural Christmas Extravaganza was a dance held at Hendricks Wharf in Black River in 2001.
Taylor says the response was so enthusiastic, he expanded it to a live concert featuring top names in contemporary dancehall as well as rocksteady and roots-reggae acts.
He stressed the economic benefits of Christmas Extravaganza to the area.
"There are smiles alround. The bars, hotels, everybody does well," he said.
St Elizabeth has hosted high-profile events such as Rebel Salute and the Calabash International Literary Festival.
Rebel Salute was previously held at Kaiser Sports Club in the district of Nain. It moved to St Ann two years ago.
'Calabash', which was first held in 2001, attracted literary lovers to the Treasure Beach. It was not held in 2013.