VIDEO: Stage set for 'Jazz'
THE budget for this year's staging of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival has been put at more than $200 million. This puts it at 15 per cent more than that what it cost to stage the event last year.
With three weeks to go before the three-day event, which unfolds from January 30 to February 1, the organisers are reporting that they are well on target to roll out the festival.
Assistant producer Junior Taylor notes that it is now full steam ahead for this year's staging.
"Right now the line-up is set, which was our biggest problem this year. Due to the unavailability of certain acts and the whole economic climate in which we operate, it took a little time to come up with a final list. However, we feel that in keeping with the festival's tradition of delivering quality artistes to a wide cross section of persons with varied musical tastes, we have accomplished our goal of a little something for everybody," Taylor stated
He further explained that traditionally 'Jazz' is staged during the third weekend in January, however this year that clashes with the Grammy awards and had they gone ahead with that date at least three of this year's confirmed acts would not be able to make the gig.
"Every year the Jamaican public wants a mega star and that is not always possible. Two years ago we were able to accomplish that with Celine Dion and we tried for a certain act this year but it just did not work out. However, this does not diminish the star power that a Toni Braxton, Beres Hammond, Aaron Neville and Crystal Gayle will bring to the event," said Taylor.
This year's opening night of the festival will include a tribute to Marcia Griffith, recognising her 50 years in the music business. The night will also see Chalice, Christopher Martin, Chronixx and what Taylor calls "the other side of Moses Davis" (deejay Beenie Man) on the stage inside the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium.
On Friday night the international acts will begin performing: Toni Braxton, Chrisette Michelle, Joe, Najee and local artiste Protoje.
The festival wraps up on Saturday, February 1 with Chaka Khan, Beres Hammond, Aaron Neville, Crystal Gayle, Bobby Kimball -- former lead singer of the group Toto -- and the Paul Peress Project.
Tickets for the show are already available for purchase on the festival's website.