It’s been a long haul for the Jamaica Jazz and Blues team. Starting in August they began the trek by reaching out to sponsors and artists and since then it has been non-stop work to get the plans to where they are today. “I’ve been seeking sponsorship for the festival for very many years’, expressed Marcia McDonnough, ‘but I must confess that this time was the most challenging and took all the patience, experience and relationship building that I have developed over the years. Overall, the times are hard financially and added to that, we all are learning how to navigate and get the best out of the virtual world, and companies are no different, so the confidence in getting involved is not a strong as it is for a physical event. That being said we must say a very big thanks to the many companies who placed their confidence in us, gave the necessary support and actually made it possible to host the event. Thanks to them several events industry personnel who basically lost their income due to COVID 19, have also been able to earn some income by working on the festival”
With less than two weeks left until the virtual broadcast, the team is still busy making sure everything is in place. “While it may seem that doing a virtual festival is easier than a live one, this is not necessarily the case”, explained Adrian Allen, “so many things have to be worked out carefully in advance, and be just right so that when it’s lights, camera, action, and that countdown gets to zero, we are ready, up and live. There is no room for delays, or redos and so every detail has to be thoroughly thought through and put in place in beforehand. We have to become excellent broadcast producers, screen writers, directors, making sure every one is on cue, everyone knows their part and that all put out their most stellar performance no matter the role”
The festival promises to deliver three nights of star performances, starting with the Stars on the Rise with seven bands. “The performances of these bands are amazing”, Marcia said excitedly, I have heard them and witnessed the passion that they have for their craft, and what they plan to deliver to our audience is phenomenal. Each of them has a different style and each presentation is unique, and so Thursday is a MUST-SEE night for everyone”. The rising stars night features, 8 The Band, Rayven Amani, Ken Ellis, Joe Davis, Keturah Soul Flautist Gray, Iron Kyte and Roots Percussionist. Added to this the audience will be expertly guided through the evening by host Debbie Bissoon and be treated to special features, giveaways and more.
Friday Night, dubbed All Stars Night 1 also promises a strong musical line-up. The music will give you goosebumps” commented a smiling Adrian Allen, “ The talent on this show makes me so happy about what we are going to present, and also makes me proud of Jamaica and the diversity of our culture. I think people will be blown away by what they will experience here. All I can say is that we will deliver a true Jazz and Blues experience”.
All Stars Night 1 will feature Bunny Rose, Earth and the Fullness, Eye of the Brainstorm, Moon, Jah9, Becky Glacier, Lila Ike, and Mortimer. Moon, one of acts for the night commented, “While I have not had the privilege of attending in the past, I’ve always followed it and it’s an honour to be here…We will be bringing jazz and blues to the festival… jazz and blues is something I am passionate about and when I was invited to perform, I decided that was what I wanted to do”
The Mitchells (Tami and Wayne) will keep the night moving steadily and Richie Stephens will showcase some of Jamaica’s magical places to the world. Once again lots of giveaways and other special moments, not to be missed.
The festival will end on Saturday night with All Stars Night 2, yet another stellar list of performers. This night will see Caribbean bands Freetown Collective from Trinidad and Tobago, The Teddyson John Project from St Lucia and international Grammy winning artist Jon Secada share the stage with Zia Benjamin, Janine Jkuhl, Tessellated, Sevana and Richie Stephens. “I am so happy to have Jazz and Blues come back” commented Zia Benjamin, “Jazz stopped just before I started music. Jazz and blues so fits my music, so many people said “Yow Jazz and Blues would a bad fi you”. But, it wasn’t there. I am so happy to have it come back, and to be on the same show that Celine Dion and Mariah Carey have performed”.
This final night will also feature The Mitchells as they invite everyone to “Stay With Us” at some of the coolest and most exquisite hotel properties on the island. In addition, the final slate of giveaways will end with the big reveal of the special Jazz Box prizes that will be given away throughout the period.
Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2021 will take place March 4 – 6 and will be streamed on jamaicajazzandblues.com, facebook.com/jamaicajazzandblues, Instagram.com/ jamaicajazzandblues and youtube.com/jamaicajazzandblues. Additionally, VP records will be an official streaming partner for the festival and will also stream the show on youtube.com/vprecords. Showtime each night will be 7:30 PM.
ABOUT JAMAICA JAZZ AND BLUES
The Jamaica Jazz and Blues proudly held the reputation as the Caribbean’s premier music festival for over 20 years. Starting in 1996 by Air Jamaica, with major sponsor the Jamaica Tourist board, the festival went on to host nearly 500 top international performers including Celine Deon, Diana Ross, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Chicago, Lionel Richie, The O’Jays, The Isley Brothers, Maroon 5, Alicia Keyes, Michael Bolton, and many more.
In 2015 the festival took a break. Sadly missed by its fans for five years, the festival returns in a virtual format in 2021 to offer a top-class line up of performers over a period of three days between March 4 – 6, 2021