All Set for the 11th Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival


By: Joseph Cunningham

Banner06 - jazzgold.jpgWalter Elmore, president of Turnkey Productions, the company behind the staging of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, is now expressing confidence that everything is in place, and that the festival will run smoothly.

Elmore said, "We are well advanced in our construction of the venue,
artiste flights and accommodation have been confirmed and we have begun shipping equipment that is needed to produce a successful show." With the assistance of investment club, OLINT TCI, Turnkey Productions is now viewing the opportunity to have one of the most successful staging's to date.

Founder of the club, Davis Smith said that the partnership has realized a star-studded line-up. "The Air Jamaica Jazz festival is very important to the continued visibility and success of brand Jamaica. As a club, OLINT is committed to nation building and we realize that through our sponsorship the country will benefit from the biggest and best jazz festival yet," Smith said.

In previous years the show has been plagued by traffic congestion. Addressing the problem Elmore said, "We are paying strict attention to detail at the venue. Through comments and suggestions from our patrons, we are making sure we step up to the plate and create an extraordinary event."

He added, "Last year, there were major traffic problems due to the road works. This year, the new four-lane highway is finally completed and is now open so this in itself should alleviate the traffic issues we had last year. We also have an underpass that will allow easy access to the venue."

Further, Elmore revealed that traffic cop, Senior Superintendent Powell, the person in charge of the Montego Bay Division, is on board to assist with traffic control.

He said production staff has changed the entrance to the venue to ensure easy access for patrons. Patrons will now enter on the north side of the venue by the seaside. He also said that the venue would be more intimate.

The food court will be smaller, Elmore revealed, adding that a reduced number of vendors will ensure that prices are reasonable," he promised.

The VIP area, he said would feature two sections, a standing room and a reserved seating area. The area will now be drink-inclusive and will be much larger than last year's.

Elmore said production will be a completely new look for the stage with a brand new LED system as the backdrop.

"We always go first-world when it comes to technology. In addition to the LED system, we will be using the high - end Meyer Milo line array to ensure that the sound and lighting are of the highest quality. As usual, patrons can expect nothing short of the best in terms of the production of this event."

The event will be characterized by phenomenal talents, past and present, like Diana Ross, Anita Baker, Jill Scott and the Billy Ocean.

Also on the line-up is Lou Gramm of Foreigner, J T Taylor of Kool and the Gang, 13-year-old Nikki Yanofsky, Spyro Gyra, Hugh Masakela, Ryan Shaw, Mary Mary and many others. The special, "Art of Music" segment will feature Jamaican artistes Jessica Yap, A J Brown, Dwight Stephenson and Marjorie Whylie. The event will run from Thursday, January 24 to Saturday, January 26.