A section of the crowd at a previous staging of Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival held at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.—-

RICHARD Bourke, president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, is calling for an increase in the number of events similar to the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival which begins in that parish tonight.

The three-day festival is scheduled for the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium. Bourke said that this event coming into the parish is a positive one, based on the amount of direct and indirect spin-offs which are generated.

“While the greater number of workers employed directly by the festival are brought in from outside the parish, there is some employment for residents, especially at the lower level.

Invariably, hotels and villas in the parish are sold out and the transportation sector benefits in moving people to and from the festival. Jazz is definitely a driver of the economy here in Trelawny,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival (formerly Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival) was first held at Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay in 1996 but moved to its current location in 2010. However, despite the obvious benefits, Bourke sees the need for more such events, especially in the traditionally slower months.

“The jazz festival was first created to drive business during the off-peak period of our tourist season. The truth is, right now our hotels are already fully booked.

Therefore, what is needed is an increase in the number of events to shoulder the dry months of May, September and October and create a spike particularly in the economy here in Trelawny.”


The three-day Jazz and Blues fest features international stars Crystal Gayle, Toni Braxton, Aaron Neville, Joe, The O’Jays, Chrisette Michelle, and Jimmy Kimball — former lead singer of Toto as well as local stars Moses Davis and Chronixx.

Tonight’s show will see a special tribute to reggae singer Marcia Griffiths, who will be using her performance at the festival, to kick start a year-long celebration of her 50 years in the music business.