Acts blaze at Rum FestMonday, March 02, 2020
By Rory Daley
Despite early morning rains, the first of the two-day 2020 Jamaica Rum Festival at Hope Gardens in St Andrew, on Saturday saw a huge turnout in patrons, who stayed late in the evening for the entertainment.
“It's been raining from 4:00 am. We've been out here making sure that we're on time. It kind of slowed us down, but it never slowed down the patrons because they were in the line at the gate at 12:00 o'clock,” Valon Thorpe, director of the Jamaica Rum Festival, told the Jamaica Observer.
His words were echoed by Marsha Lumley, marketing director — J Wray & Nephew Limited, whose Appleton Estate brand is title sponsor.
“To say we're happy with the turnout is an understatement. It is the second year of the Jamaica Rum Festival and the support is overwhelming. Rain or shine, people came out in the drizzling rain just to enjoy what we had to offer and I could not be more pleased,” she said.
The Jamaica Rum Festival is presented by J Wray & Nephew Limited's Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism through its agency, the Tourism Enhancement Fund. It is aimed at promoting Brand Jamaica with a focus on Kingston as a tourism and entertainment destination.
Once patrons had their fill of drinks, they turned their attention to the massive production stage with its gigantic video screens and two-storey design that had the backing bands on a platform at the rear above the artistes.
Headliner Protoje was welcomed on stage with pyrotechnic flames. He didn't need them as his blazing vibe was well-received by patrons. Belting out songs like Flames, Blood Money and Who Knows were well enough to enter the fans. He, however, sent the energy through the roof as he shared his set with a host of artistes out his camp. People went wild as Sevana, Jesse Royal joined for Sudden Flight. Mortimer, Lila Iké and even Naomi Cowan joined the action.
“Mi jus hold a vibes and enjoy mi self and lef di res up to di people dem, yuh know,” said Protoje.
He had further teased the crowd indicating that this would be his last local performance for a while. He told the Jamaica Observer that he leaves the island next month to begin a lengthy tour schedule that ends after summer.
“I go on tour starting next month, lots of shows, probably like 30 or 40 total touring through summer then come back Jamaica with the new album,” he said.
Protoje was coy on the name and track length of the upcoming album, but added that he was the executive producer and named Dwayne “Supa Dups” Chin-Quee as one of the many collaborators.
Mortimer entered with resounding applause for his solo set and had no problem holding everyone's attention with songs such as Nice up Di Scene and Fight the Fight. Bugle continued the conscious theme by dipping into his catalogue for his well-known hits including Nuh Compatible.
Ding Dong and his Ravers were also a hit. If he wasn't dancing up a storm on the stage, he could be found on the speakers anchored close in the media pit. Things then went to the next level as the singjay climbed the metal scaffolding without even breaking his song.
Spragga Benz was left to close the show, bringing his 90s dancehall flair to end the night.
“It was a good vibe still. Loyal fans stayed and it looked like they had a good time with me,” he said.
Dance Xpressions, Naomi Cowan and Tessallated all gave entertaining sets.
Jamaica Rum Festival concluded last night.