Kite festival cancelled
WESTERN BUREAU: For the second time since its inception in 1992, the kite festival at the Drax Hall Sports Complex in St Ann will not be held.
Organisers said the festival, which was estimated to cost $5 million, was cancelled because of a lack of sponsorship. The uncertainty surrounding the availability of the venue was also a contributing factor.
According to managing director of the Jamaica Kite Festival Foundation, Jonathan Gosse, the location was being prepared as a football field, which takes up about 25 per cent of the area usually occupied by patrons.
“They could not really tell us whether or not we were going to be able to put people on it … when it was going to be finished, whether it was going to be fenced,” Gosse said.
Over the years the kite festival has been a major family entertainment event. The festival last year attracted between 25,000 and 30,000 patrons.
And according to Gosse, the event has also served to improve the local economy of St Ann and to preserve the tradition of kite flying.
“An event like this has proven that you can take a local community event, properly organise and manage it and it can become a major player in both the local economy and the tourism product,” he said.
In the meantime, he said that the Foundation would be revising their marketing strategy and improving the entertainment activities offered at the festival to ensure the festival goes off without a hitch next year.
Unlike in previous years, Gosse said they would “customise” their sponsorship packages to show each perspective sponsor how they can benefit from participation in the festival.
He said they would also examine the prospect of increasing the cost of tickets. Last year’s tickets cost $150 per adult and $100 per child.
The kite festival is the second festival to be cancelled this year.
The South Trelawny Environmental Association announced earlier this year that it was canceling the yam festival, also due to a lack of funding and uncertainty surrounding the availability of the venue.