MONTEGO BAY, St James: The show of support by patrons at the inaugural staging of the Rainforest Seafood Festival at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex on Ash Wednesday exceeded organisers' expectations.
"We are extremely pleased with the turn out. We are on track to meet our target of $5 million for the We Care Foundation of the Cornwall Regional Hospital," Max Jardin of Rainforest Seafood told the Jamaica Observer.
"The festival pulled out over 10,000 persons and we are extremely grateful and humbled that patrons have seen it fit to lend their support to such a worthy cause. Thanks to all the sponsors and everyone who made this event a success."
Organisers of the one-day festival aspired to raise $5 million from the event, which will go towards the We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital Foundation
We Care is a non-profit organisation dedicated to assist the hospital's needs. So far, the organisation, which was established just over a year ago, has raised roughly US$140,000 under the initiative.
Foundation chairman Adam Stewart is inspired to make it a calendar event.
"We were hoping for 10,000 patrons and it seems we have exceeded that. It is a fantastic event and what I think is nice about it is that it is a family event. A number children came out with the families and they all had a good time. And at the end of the day it is all for charity. I think it is a tremendous gesture and we are prepared to do it every year," said Stewart.
Richard Russell, Reggae Sumfest organiser, congratulated the organisers.
"This is the biggest crowd any musical event has ever attracted during its first staging in the history of our music. The crowd is comparable to a Friday or Saturday night at Sumfest," said Russell.
Outstanding performances got under way after the funday.
Veteran entertainer Ken Booth set the stage for younger acts. The seasoned campaigner held the audience spell bound as he reeled off vintage hits from his vast catalogue including Everything I Own, When I Fall in Love, and Silver Words.
Prodigal Son was a good ambassador for gospel music lovers, who responded well to his set. He was followed by fast-rising artiste Chronixx who captivated the audience with songs such as Warrior, Behind Curtain, They Don't Know, and Nah Follow Nobody.
Lone female act Tifa was in full flight holding the attention of the audience with Hold On, Take Back the Touch, Dash Out, and Champion Bubbler. Montego Bay's group Jah Soul gave a great show.
Female fans screamed wildly and cheered during a powerful set by Romain Virgo who mesmerised with his commanding voice in tunes such as Let's Get it On, Can't Sleep, and When Will See You Again.
I Octane delivered his usual high energy performance while Beenie Man gave a showman-like performance. His hits Dweet Again, Girls Dem Sugar, Romey, and Who am I.