Due to the uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, organizers of the famous Jamaica Jazz and Blues event have decided to postpone this year’s staging until next year.
The event’s owner/executive producer Walter Elmore said he and his team had big plans for this year’s staging. However, artists are still very reluctant to commit to performances until they better understand the impact of the virus, especially outside of their homeland.
After a five-year hiatus, the festival made a triumphant return virtually in January 2021, amassing more than 200,000 views worldwide.
Despite this, Elmore stated that “all things considered, the team felt strongly that rather than just do the festival virtually this year, we should wait until we could present an event that can offer both physical and virtual options.”
With the festival expected to celebrate its 21st staging in 2023, the event organizers have promised that the 2023 staging will be a magical experience.
“COVID-19 has forced everyone to think out-of-the-box, and so I am very excited about some new options that we are looking at for our company. We were initially disappointed that the 2022 edition would not happen. Still, we have now moved on to putting out all efforts to give our fans a magical experience superseding all they have had before while introducing new ways for our partners to engage with the festival and the art of music.”
All is not lost, according to Marcia McDonnough, co-producer of the 2021 virtual event.
“This doesn’t mean that we are giving up on 2022,” she said. “We are still looking at ideas that would see us kicking off activities which will begin the journey and set the stage for the main event, in the latter part of 2022; however, more on this will be available later. We are now finalizing those plans and will be reaching out to our partners very soon to work with them to develop strategies that will involve them in some of these activities.”
Since its 1996 start, the festival has drawn crowds of 30,000-plus music fans, including more than 6,000 visitors to Jamaica, for a music vacation unlike any other.
Billed as the Caribbean’s biggest party, it has featured headliner performances from Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Maroon 5, Diana Ross, John Legend, Joss Stone, Billy Ocean, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, Estelle, Hall & Oates, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, and Air Supply, as well as a host of top Jamaican stars such as Shaggy, Sean Paul, Ziggy Marley, Maxi Priest, Richie Stephens, Tarrus Riley, Beres Hammond, Tessanne Chin, Chronixx and many others.