It’s Fact Friday. Today, we share five facts about one of the most anticipated musical events on the local entertainment calendar: Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
- The first Jazz and Blues Festival was held in November 1996 on the lawns of Rose Hall Great House, with an audience of 1,500 persons. It was called the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival at the time. The event was the brainchild of Allen Chastenet, the then-Vice President of Air Jamaica and experienced producer Walter Elmore, as a means of encouraging more visitors to come to Jamaica during the ‘soft’ tourist season.
- The festival moved to James Bond Beach in Ocho Rios in 1998 a new venue not yet known by the public, where it remained for five years. During this time it featured the likes of Gladys Knight, Kenny G, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Kool and the Gang, Chaka Khan, Eric Benet, Al Jarreau to name a few.
- In 2009, the national airline relinquished the title and the event became the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival with the Jamaica Tourist Board as the new title sponsor.
- Kenny Rogers, Air Supply, Dionne Warwick, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Nora Jones, Bo Diddley, Monty Alexander, Third World, Shaggy, Pattie Labelle, Al Green, Earth Wind and Fire, Diana Ross, Chicago, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, Spyro Gyra, Randy Crawford, Koko Taylor, Hall and Oates, Joss Stone, Machel Montano, Jon Secada, Babyface, Gladys Knight, Monty Alexander, Billy Ocean, Maroon 5, Natalie Cole, Diana King, Tavares, SWV, Regina Belle, Alison Hinds, Laura Izibor, Taurus Riley, Kenny G, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Kool and the Gang, Chaka Khan, Eric Benet, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Erykah Badu, Monica, The Isley Brothers, Black Uhuru are just some of the stars who have performed over the years.
- The festival has called five different venues home since its inception: the lawns of the Rose Hall Great House, James Bond Beach, Cinnamon Hill Golf Course, the Aqueduct at Rose Hall and its current home, the Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny.
Visit www.jamaicajazzandblues.com for details and to purchase tickets online.