The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival was hailed by a musical superstar as one of the remaining bastions in support of not just reggae music but other musical genres and culture as a whole.
Alerting the music world he was about to deliver “real talk,” Shaggy, the Jamaican dancehall hit-maker and Grammy winner spoke frankly about the importance of the 2012 festival in promoting reggae music while others around the world turn the volume down on the Jamaican art form.
The Grammy award-winning artist, one of several top Jamaican acts headlining the bill for the 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, was speaking to a spellbound audience at the New York launch of the 16th annual festival set for January 26 to 28, 2012 at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium in Jamaica.
“In Europe there are only three remaining festivals,” he lamented. “At one point there were 15. This is …something we need to change for ourselves.”
Shaggy’s appearance at the 2012 festival will be part of a Thursday night tribute to Jamaica’s golden anniversary of independence as organizers highlight Jamaica’s rich musical sounds over the past 50 years.
Shaggy, affectionately known as “Mr. Bombastic”, Richie Stephens and a slate of top Jamaican reggae musicians are expected to deliver some of their classic hits and newer material at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
“I call this the Shaggy festival,” he joked, “and I’m really looking forward to once again being part of the event.”
Noting the importance of the host destination the star remarked, “There is a cool factor that comes with brand Jamaica – we are a small country but we have an exceptional brand. And that brand comes with this enormous cool factor which we need to market to its fullest.”
Shaggy added events such as the Jazz and Blues Festival attract not only music-loving visitors, but also investors to the island. “In so doing, we create revenue and jobs.”
The international headliner also declared the creation of jobs brought another critical contribution: “when you eliminate poverty, you eliminate crime.”
Walter Elmore, chairman of the event producers, Art of Music Productions Ltd., predicted next year’s festival will be “the biggest event Jamaica has ever seen. We are extremely happy and proud of the fact that the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival kicks off a year-long series of major events in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.”
“We are promising to deliver an event that will make both the Jazz Festival and the Independence celebrations unforgettable experiences,” Elmore stated.
Multi-platinum, five-time Grammy award-winning, Celine Dion, headlines a top talent line-up which brings to the stage Nicole Henry, Jully Black, Earl Klugh, Heads of State, Cee-Lo Green, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, Destra, and Jamaica’s finest musical talent, including Shaggy, Richie Stephens, John Holt, Yellow Man, Half Pint, Tessanne Chin and Tami Chynn, Marcia Griffiths, Lloyd Parkes and We The People, George Nooks, Luciano, Mykal Rose, AJ Brown, Freddy McGregor, Pluto Shervington, Etana, Chris Martin, and Marcia Barrett (Boney M).