Western Jamaica already has two major festivals – Reggae Sumfest and the Jazz Festival – on its social/entertainment calendar. Each of those events features local and international acts and attracts thousands of visitors and locals alike each year, but, according to the organisers of this latest addition to the line-up of festivals, Live on the Waterfront aims to use purely Jamaican music to attract visitors to Jamaica.
“The inspiration was to bring back a festival to the line-up that was truly Jamaican, something that imports more visitors than entertainers,” said Jason Russell of Live Entertainment, the company that is staging the festival.
Live Entertainment comprises of Russell, Richard Bennett, more popularly known as Charlie Chaplin; and Dwight Crawford.
So come April 22, Live on the Waterfront opens up with its Party Night with Bryon Lee and the Dragonaires and Kurt Riley. Reggae Night follows on April 23 and features performers including Jah Cure, Etana, Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel, Tarrus Riley, Charlie Chaplin, Brigadier Jerry and Josey Wales among others.
“We’re mixing the old and the new to keep it authentic,” Russell says.
On Dancehall Night, April 24, entertainers like Bounty Killer, Sizzla, I-Octane, Lady Saw, Busy Signal, Agent Sasco (Assassin), Genius, Khago, and Chino, are expected to thrill the thousands expected to show up for the event.
The festival concludes on April 25 with Gospel Night when gospel music fans can expect to receive spiritual fulfilment from the likes of Stitchie, Carlene Davis, Sandra Brooks, Goddy Goddy, DJ Nicolas, Prodigal Son and Ryan Berry. Some local bands and gospel artistes are also expected to perform on the night.
Expecting 30,000 Patrons
As this is the inaugural year of the event, Russell believes the line-ups will pull in an estimated 30,000 patrons over the four nights, even though there are indicators that perhaps as many as 40,000 could be in attendance. The festival coincides with the staging of the CARIFTA Games and most of the hotels in Montego Bay are already reporting that there will be a 100 per cent occupancy during that weekend.
Russell expects that many of the visitors who will be on the island for the regional track and field meet will be attending the festival.
He says he expects the festival to be a success and a portion of the proceeds are to be used to spur a return to live music within the wider Jamaican society.
Russell explains that a foundation to be called Live Alive is to be set up through which much-needed funds will be distributed to schools, churches, children’s homes and similar institutions that will use the money to develop programmes to teach children to play instruments and read music.
“Within five years we expect this programme to have a major impact on live music in Jamaica,” Russell said.