NEW YORK – Organizers of the annual Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival were presented with an official New York City Council proclamation as they kicked off their 2008 season in the Big Apple Jamaican-American Councilmember and Deputy Majority Leader of the Council, Leroy Comrie, presented the official proclamation to Executive Producer of the Festival, Walter Elmore, before a gathering of approximately 80 at the Providence Restaurant in Manhattan on Thursday, November 1.
Joining Elmore in receiving the honor were Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Ed Bartlett and Air Jamaica’s Marketing Director, Joy Schaaffe.
“The New York City Council is pleased and proud to honor the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival for its invaluable contribution and on this occasion of its New York City kick-off luncheon,” the proclamation read in part.
Meanwhile, Elmore reminisced on the humble beginnings of the festival, which in 1996 drew a mere 1,500 people. Today, the festival draws over 40,000 fans and features some of the biggest entertainers in the world making it the “biggest” Caribbean party.
And this year, as demand grows, organizers announce they will be printing a limited number of tickets for the January 24-26, 2008 event to ensure the comfort level of fans is not compromised at the venue, the Aqueduct at Rose Hall, Jamaica.
“This event is magical,” stated Elmore. “The audience is the biggest heart of the magic. And the artists give back with a performance that they just don’t do anywhere else.”
Jamaican-American Councilmember and Deputy Majority Leader of the New York City Council, Leroy Comrie, 2nd from r., presents the proclamation to Air Jamaica Jazz Fest Executive Producer, Walter Elmore, l, Air Jamaica’s Marketing Director, Joy Schaaffe, 2nd from l., and Jamaica Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett, r. on Nov. 1, 2007. (Roland Hyde Image)
For his part, Minister Bartlett said he looks forward to the “high quality” of performance that has become synonymous with the Festival.
Media representatives, sponsors and attendees were, meanwhile, wowed, as Zachary Harding, the new adviser on tourism to Minister Bartlett, revealed the 2008 line up that features headliner Diana Ross, dubbed the ‘female entertainer of the century’ by Billboard magazine as well as eight-time Grammy singer Anita Baker, legendary pop singer, Trinidad- born Billy Ocean; and reggae great, Beres Hammond.
“This is perhaps the best lineup that I have heard of in recent times,” commented Minister Bartlett.
Also attending the event were several key members of the Jamaica Tourist Board including director of the JTB, Basil Smith, Anthony King, Regional Director Tour Operations & Airlines, Carrole A.M. Guntley, director general of the Jamaica Tourism Board, and Chris Dobson as well as the Air Jamaica team in New York, led by Campbell Rudder.
Dubbed the ‘Art Of Music,’ the festival is a three-day musical event that welcomes 40,000 patrons each year. It has become the showcase for unforgettable music on two stages, delicious Jamaican and international cuisine and an overall great time.
The Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, since its introduction in 1986, has attracted thousands of patrons from the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and Jamaica. International artistes that have performed at the festival include Alicia Keys, Kenny Rogers, Norah Jones, Julio Iglesias, Roberta Flack, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, India Arie, Nancy Wilson, Earth Wind and Fire, Kenny G., Michael McDonald, Gladys Knight, Kool & the Gang, Al Jarreau,Branford Marsalis, Brian McKnight Harry Belafonte, Babyface, Stephanie Mills, George Benson, Erykah Badu, Gladys Knight, Michael Bolton, and many more. And to bring the Jamaican flavor well known names such as Ziggy Marley, Morgan Heritage, Third World, Toots Hibbert, Shaggy, Sean Paul Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond, Monty Alexander, Ritchie Stephens and many other Jamaican talents have made their mark on the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues stage.
In addition to its main objective of world-class musical entertainment, the festival prides itself on introducing many local and foreign talents to the world through its “Art of Music” initiative, which seeks out and showcases new talent to an audience to which they would not otherwise have been able to reach.
Over the years the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has sought to creatively partner with companies that wish to associate themselves with a high quality event and it has been fortunate to have garnered strong support from various corporate and government agencies.
This year the festival is being presented by key title sponsor, Olint along with support from Air Jamaica, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Scotiabank, Oasis Bottled Water, Viva Sparkling Water, Audi, Vitamalt, Power and Charmin.
For more information visit www.AirJamaicajazzandblues.com.