Organiser lifts glass to rum fest

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 11, 2019

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ORGANISERS of the inaugural Jamaica Rum Festival are pleased with the turnout on opening day of the two-day event, held at Hope Gardens in St Andrew last Saturday.

“We got more than we expected. We had over 3,000 people and we're very happy, as this is our first time staging,” Valon Thorpe, director of the Jamaica Rum Festival, told the Jamaica Observer.

Thorpe is also pleased with crowd response.

“We wanted patrons to be exposed to the history of rum in the Jamaican story; the overall experience; In other words, edutaining the consumers,” he said. “We're getting great reviews on social media.”

In addition to an entertainment package, the occasion saw seminars from renowned Master Blender Joy Spence, and UK's Ian Burrell, global ambassador for rum.

Entertainment was an eclectic offering, bookended by singer Sevana and headliner Aidonia, who closed proceedings late in the night.

Aidonia was introduced by a humorous segment featuring Dance Expression, but once the self-proclaimed 4th Genna hit the stage, he had the packed venue singing along to his hit single, Hot Tool. With the audience eating out of his hands, Aidonia worked through his catalogue, delivering Banga, Kush Inna Mi Brain, Dat A Di Thing and Breeze.

Wayne Marshall, Dean Fraser, Pluto Shervington and a mento band, also performed.

Marshall bridged the gap between dancehall and reggae. His performance ran the gamut of his early songs like Suffer and Overcome to last year's anthem, Glory To God.

Patron Matthew Gabbadon gave the event a thumbs up.

“This event should be made annual. It's an excellent idea and very well executed,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Having seen the event advertised on social media, he made the trek and was not disappointed.

“I think they just need to add more free rum,” Gabbadon joked.

The festival concluded last night with artistes including Synt Ochestra, Ikaya, Agent Sasco, and Jesse Royal.


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