Having seen the forward bookings for the 26th annual Memorial Weekend Sit-In being staged by the Vinyl Record Collectors Association (VRCA), it was only natural that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) would put its marketing and promotions strength behind the event.
Additionally, the JTB's acting director of marketing, Peter Mullings sees the May 26-29 weekend as another opportunity to promote the island's rich culture — a point he made during the event's recent media launch at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
"Vinyl records have become a movement of cultural expression that bring people together, and that's what this event will do," Mullings said.
"For the Jamaica Tourist Board, that augurs well for the promotion of one of our major pillars — music and musical experiences. The way we see it, people travel for music and culture, and this Memorial Weekend celebration that will be held in Jamaica will attract music aficionados, practitioners, and collectors alike," he told the audience.
"Jamaica will become a haven for those who are part of this vinyl records movement and those who may be interested in learning and experiencing what it is all about," he said, adding that the JTB is pleased that the weekend attracts a strong Diaspora audience who, he said, will be able to rediscover their roots by visiting family and reconnecting with their Jamaican ancestry.
Michael "Louis" Owens, VRCA president, said that he expects "conservatively, anywhere from 200 to 250 people from overseas" to visit Jamaica for the Memorial Weekend Sit-In, which will open with a meet-and-greet at Caymanas Golf Club on May 26, followed by a Jamaican dance party at the same venue a day later.
An awards banquet is scheduled for May 28, also at Caymanas Golf Club, after which the event will climax on May 29 with a Jamaican family picnic at Boone Hall Oasis, Stony Hill, St Andrew.
"There's great excitement for this event — our premier annual event. People who support us have been going out as much as before the COVID period. We expect strong support," Owens said at the launch.
The JTB's Mullings gave an indication of his age when he shared passionate memories of playing vinyl records which, he said, hold an iconic place in the evolution of music.
"There's a nostalgic feeling for many of us who grew up on vinyl. We used to go to the record store and browse for hours upon hours, flipping through album covers and then we just buy a one record," Mullings said, eliciting laughter from the audience, many of whom nodded in agreement.
"And there was bigger memory — that of removing the record from the sleeve, placing it on the turntable, and lowering the needle into the grooves. It's a feeling that a lot of people miss, and it is one that we certainly cherish," Mullings said, adding that the JTB looks "forward to welcoming everyone on May 26".
The VRCA has chapters in Jamaica, Toronto, Connecticut, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and South Florida.