The Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival is here to stay. That’s what the executives are saying after a very successful event for this year. In fact, they may even be considering expansion of the event for next year, to stage it over two weekends, rather than one. That might have not yet been decided on, but what is certain is that Air Jamaica’s vice-president of sales and marketing Alan Chastanet is a proud man after this year’s even which ended Sunday night.
Chastanet was in an upbeat mood all this weekend, as he had seen a sold-out audience lap up Gladys Knight’s delightful servings: Buena Vista Social Club and Monty Alexander charm a pcked house and ha seen the town of Ocho Rios embrace the festival.
After seeing two very successful and entertaining events at the James Bond beach on Saturday and Sunday, he is more relaxed. And he told The Gleaner he had now laid to rest the fear of cancelling the festival.
“If things hadn’t worked this year, I am pretty sure that we would have had to cancel the festival. There was no way we were going to continue under the conditions we faced in the past years. I am extremely happy that things have gone well here and I am saying that the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is here to stay,” he said.
“It is now proving to have been a good decision to change the date to this time of year. We could not have continued losing money because of the rains in December. What we are now finding is that this time of year is also a dry period when not much happened.”
Mr. Chastanet also said Air Jamaica decided to stage the Moonlight Madness series featuring local entertainers because they wanted to get the people of the town involved.
“We also decided to have two main events at Jamaica Grande because the James Bond Beach is so far away from Ocho Rios,” he explained.
Former president of the Ocho Rios Chamber of Commerce Joe Issa said he was happy that things had finally turned full circle for the festival. He expressed happiness at what the event was doing for the town of Ocho Rios and its environs and predicted that the event would grow from strength to strength. According to Mr. Issa, Ocho Rios has given up 240 hotel rooms, in addition to other incentives, in order to assist the promoters.
Source: The Gleaner