ISAIAH Laing, principal of Supreme Promotions, organiser of Sting, says the government's recent announcement that it had acquired the 70-acre JamWorld Entertainment Centre in Portmore, St Catherine, on which it plans to build a state-of-the-art facility, is "long overdue".
"We need something like that. St Catherine and Kingston are the music centres for reggae and dancehall. So, it is a fabulous idea," Laing told the Jamaica Observer. JamWorld is considered the 'spiritual' home of the dancehall stage show Sting.
"I'm sure the people of Kingston and Portmore are happy about the plans. And, I say give thanks to Babsy Grange," he continued.
'Babsy' Grange refers to the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange. She made the acquisition announcement at Sting's media launch held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on November 8.
"JamWorld has been the home of Sting for about 20 years... from 1993 to 2015; but we skipped a year. The facility needs to be set up [in] a way that it has a museum on the compound. That could become a tourist attraction," said Laing.
Laing, a former crime fighter, said plans are in high gear for this year's staging of Sting on Boxing Day, slated for Grizzly's Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann, after a seven-year absence.
"We'll be ramping up promotions in the next few days," said Laing. "This will be one of the best shows ever. We have a mix of fast-rising acts and seasoned veterans. The young artistes have the current hit songs who the young people want to hear and see perform these songs. I'm encouraging everyone to come out and enjoy a great show," he continued.
This year's line-up includes Christopher Martin, Shane O, Shaneil Muir, Jesse Royal, Etana, Pamputtae, Jada Kingdom, and Dovey Magnum.
First staged in 1984, Sting has been held at Cinema II in New Kingston; the National Stadium in St Andrew and JamWorld Entertainment Complex in St Catherine. Hip hop heavyweights Biggie Smalls, Kris Kross, Busta Rhymes and DMX have all appeared on the show, which drew monster crowds each year in its heyday.
Among the famous Sting clashes were Super Cat vs Ninja Man in 1990; Merciless against Ninja Man, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man in 2000; and Vybz Kartel vs Ninja Man in 2003.