THERE will be no Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival this year.
Organisers of the popular music showcase have made the decision to defer this year's staging until next year, due to the uncertainty brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Walter Elmore, owner/executive producer of the event, said he and his team had big plans for this year's event.
“But the uncertainty made it very hard to plan. Added to this, artistes are still very reluctant to commit to performances until they better understand the impact of the virus, especially outside of their own homelands. All things considered, the team felt strongly that rather than just do the festival virtually again this year, we should wait until we could present an event that can offer a physical as well as virtual options,” said Elmore.
The executive producer said 2023 will be a magical experience.
“COVID-19 has forced everyone to think out-of-the-box, and so I am very excited about some new options that we are looking at for our company. We were initially disappointed that the 2022 edition would not happen, but we have now moved on to putting out all efforts to give our fans a magical experience superseding all they have had before, while introducing new ways for our partners to engage with the festival and the art of music,” Elmore added.
Marcia McDonnough, co-producer of the 2021 virtual event, said all is not lost.
“This doesn't mean that we are giving up on 2022,” she said. “We are still looking at ideas that would see us kicking off activities which will begin the journey and set the stage for the main event, in the latter part of 2022; however, more on this will be available later. We are now finalising those plans and will be reaching out to our partners very soon, to work with them to develop strategies that will involve them in some of these activities.”
In 2023, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival will celebrate its 21st staging.
Founded in 1996, the popular festival regularly welcomed audiences of 30,000-plus music enthusiasts, including more than 6,000 visitors to Jamaica, for a music vacation experience like no other.
Billed as the Caribbean's biggest party, it has showcased headliner performances from the likes of Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Maroon 5, Diana Ross, John Legend, Joss Stone, Billy Ocean, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, Estelle, Hall & Oates, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, and Air Supply, plus a host of top Jamaican stars such as Shaggy, Sean Paul, Ziggy Marley, Maxi Priest, Richie Stephens, Tarrus Riley, Beres Hammond, Tessanne Chin, Chronixx, and many more.
After a five-year break, the festival was reintroduced to the entertainment calendar in January 2021, by means of an immersive virtual production that was hugely successful, garnering views of over 200,000 worldwide.