The countdown has begun to the 10th Annual Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, an event that’s easily going to surpass anything that has been seen or heard in Jamaica or the Caribbean. “I invite everyone to come to Jamaica and celebrate our tenth anniversary with us, because we are pulling out all stops to make the 2007 event the biggest and best Festival ever” according to Festival executive producer Walter Elmore.
The buzz is definitely on, says Elmore, as his office fields a barrage of phone calls from enthused fans looking for tickets to see Grammy-winning musical icons like Michael Bolton, Country superstar Kenny Rogers, Christopher Cross and Shaggy among others. The superstars will descend on the festival’s new venue at the Aqueduct on Rose Hall; on the main road, near the Rose Hall Resort & Country Club, in Montego Bay from January 23rd to the 27th.
It is a venue that has Elmore glowing with pride as he reveals that employees are hard at work putting the final touches to enhance the natural beauty of the setting. “Fans will catch the vibe of the 17th century Aqueduct as soon as they enter the new venue. There is more room and more space for everyone to spread out under the stars on the green grass while breathing in the fresh sea air blowing in from the Caribbean.” He adds “That’s the way we planned it, so that everyone who attends gets caressed by ocean breezes while soaking in the rhythms that are live on stage.” In addition, parking will be easier than ever with more spacious parking lots.
For fans looking for JazzFest packages, Elmore advises “You had better book now, because while there is still space, it is filling up quickly.” He advises that the time is now to call your travel agent or Air Jamaica Vacations at 1-800-LOVEBIRD to secure your JazzFest holiday getaway. Festival season passes and individual tickets for the nightly shows can be obtained at the airport and venues across Montego Bay.
“It is an experience that cannot be missed,” said Elmore, adding that festivalgoers are also encouraged to experience all the sights and sounds of Jamaica. This year festival organizers have introduced their own radio station-JazzFest Radio located on the dial at 100.7 FM, The station is designed to keep fans up to date on events surrounding the festival, including performers, ticket locations and parking spaces as well as daily activities and promotions around the island. He is quick to point out, “Remember, that the idea of the Festival is bring visitors to Jamaica. And by focusing on all there is to do in Jamaica, during the day, and enjoying the Festival at night, we can really guarantee that visitors to Jamaica for the Festival will return to Jamaica. Plus the good will that it generates when they return and brag to their family and friends about Jamaica can generate millions of dollars in genuine person to person endorsements for the country”.
The 2007 Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival (airjamaicajazzandblues.com) is a TurnKey Productions event that has been running continuously since October 1996. The 2007 Festival features musical superstars like jazz legends Roy Ayers, Chuck Mangione, and Pieces of a Dream. Along with music greats Russell Tompkins Jr., and The New Stylistics and a very special performance by ABBA-The Tribute. The Blues are well represented with The Robert Cray Band, and Jamaica’s own world renowned pianist Monty Alexander, along with rising neo-soul star Anthony Hamilton insure that there is something for everyone, every night.
Festival producers are also proud to introduce a special “Art of Reggae” night to the event. In the land where reggae evolved, reggae/dancehall all-stars and Apollo Lifetime Achievement winner Freddie McGregor, dancehall ‘cool ruler’ Wayne Wonder, crooner Sanchez and mega DJ Shaggy are set to keep the spirit of the genre alive and deliver power house performances that rival their international counterparts live on stage in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, a lucky fan will be given a chance to see all of the stars at the Festival in Jamaica if they are selected as the random winner of the JazzFest contest. Winners will receive (2) airline tickets, (3) nights at the Holiday Inn All Inclusive SunSpree Resort and (2) three-day main stage Festival passes. To enter, visit the Festival website and follow the contest link. Winners to be announced after an official drawing on January 12, 2006.
Jazz Fest organizers also are reminding U.S. travelers to all secure their U.S. passport or certify that the passport of their foreign country is valid before traveling to the festival next year. The call comes as the countdown to the US’ Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative or ‘passport rule,’ begins ahead of the extended January 23, 2007 deadline, which will require all air travelers to present a passport to re-enter the United States. U.S. passports may be obtained through the U.S. Postal Service while Caribbean and other greencard holder can obtain passports from their local consulates. U.S. passport fee are US$67 plus an execution fee of $30 and a photo fee of $15. Fees for children under age 16 are $52 plus the additional photo and execution fees.
Sponsors of the 2007 festival include Air Jamaica, The Jamaica Tourist Board, American Express, Digicel, Caribbean Producers and Ocean Spray.