While it is arguably much more expensive and time-consuming to produce a live show, artistes, promoters and the general public all agree that everyone benefits more from live events. In an effort to find a way to take huge, quality-produced shows across the island, Martin Lewis, CEO of One Nation Event Entertainment Limited, and Shane Brown of Juke Boxx have teamed up on a new entertainment format that will allow fans to see their favourite artistes performing live closer to home.
The On Tour series recently got started with reggae artiste Tarrus Riley performing at four different venues across the island on the weekend. The first two On Tour series will be sponsored by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, with an option to extend their sponsorship contract.
According to Lewis, who has a background in the area of production, he recognised the void in Jamaica for the average person to be able to enjoy a good show.
"Most people don't get to go to Jazz & Blues or Sumfest because they are only held in certain centres. It's as if those people don't count. I've spent 20 years touring, and that is what touring is about - bringing the product to the people. On Tour also aims to ensure that artistes become more invested in their presentation, and it also encourages the artistes to realise their real worth," he said.
"This is our promise; we are taking a 'big show' to small venues across Jamaica to the people. Extreme efforts will be made on the show production and the experience," he added.
Brown agreed, adding that following Riley's islandwide tour, Morgan Heritage will be the next featured act.
"Not all acts are fully equipped musically to perform a 90-minute concert. One of the first things we look at is the repertoire of the acts and the quality of their presentation. This is a new series and I work very closely with both Tarrus and Morgan Heritage, but we have a lot of artistes to approach, but for now, it's who is willing to work with us, but the quality of presentation, I'd say, is definitely an attraction for us," Brown said.
Though the resurgence of live music has generally been about reggae acts, Brown was quick to point out that dancehall artistes would also be included in the series.
"From a dancehall artiste is equipped to put on a clean, quality performance, we are all for it," he stated.
Brown also went on to say that On Tour will not only feature young artistes, but that the event was open to all.
"Our culture needs an appreciation for artistes who are not popular with today's generation, but these same artistes have paved the way for us. Only a few shows in Jamaica accommodate live music. If patrons get accustomed to these types of concert settings, then they'll definitely have a greater appreciation for our music. Promoters will also have an open mind and will have less acts on more nights. So instead of a three-day festival, we could have a weeklong festival," Brown said.
According to Brown, this series will be able to propel artistes further into international markets.
"An artiste can learn to improve his craft. This is an open arena for all local artistes to step up their game. We can use these performances to send the artistes to the world. Once the performance goes viral, it can definitely open new markets for the artiste," Brown said.