Mas Camp to close in two weeks; Butch Stewart's new hotel to start construction

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With the closure of the Mas Camp on Oxford Road scheduled to take place in another two weeks, several staple events will have to find new homes. There has been talk of closure from as far back as 2006, but year after the year the New Kingston venue remained open. It has, however, been reported that the venue owned by the Butch Stewart-owned ATL group will soon make way for a new hotel. A report carried in The Star stated that Gyete Ghartey, promoter of Mello Vibes and Yesterday, said he got the daunting call in October. "Going forward we have to find another venue, a venue that is accessible. Mas Camp had everything. It was quite central, you had parking and it wasn't so much in a residential area," he told THE STAR. With Mello Vibes being held at Mas Camp for the final time on the weekend, Ghartey said it will be a difficult task to find another venue that has similar characteristics. Nonetheless, he said the next staging of Yesterday will be on November 19 at Sugarman's Beach in Portmore. After that event, Ghartey said, it will be hard to find a venue for the December staging. Daunting for Ghartey, but Michael Ammar Jr, organiser of Bacchanal Jamaica, said his group has been preparing since becoming aware of the closure early this year. "From the last carnival we knew it was closing. It won't affect us, we will have a new 'Mas Camp'," he said. Ammar said they are well advanced with their plans for a new venue, but as for the details, he was tight-lipped. This new location, he said, might even improve the event. As for other events that were staged at Mas Camp, Ammar said "it's going to affect a lot of the independent operators that rent Mas Camp." Therefore, "we are trying to choose a venue that will be suitable for use by other people," he said, noting that one more event will he held at Mas Camp before it closes. Ghartey and Ammar are not alone with their views, as Jerome Hamilton a representative of Heineken Good Times, shares similar sentiments. "I think it is going to hurt Good Times as well as other events that were held there. It is going to create a void and I am not sure how we are going to fill that. It's a big blow to the industry," he told THE STAR, describing Mas Camp as a convenient location.
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