This year’s Jazz Fest has everyone excited, thanks to an A-list line-up of performers and a new venue.
Alicia Keys is the big name slated to hit the stage on the event’s closing night, Saturday, 5 December. Other well-known performers, set to heat up the night, include Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams, Everette Harp, Keith Sweat, Kirk Whalum and Mike Phillips. Whalum and Adams will headline the Thursday, 3 December concert at Pedro St. James.
On Friday and Saturday nights, however, the action will take place at Camana Bay.
Camana Bay is now a platinum sponsor of the annual festival after committing a location to the festival for the next five years.
They are also providing support that will help the Department of Tourism to offset significant direct costs when it comes to site clearance and logistics.
At present the use for the land when Jazz Fest is not taking place is uncertain, though Nikki Callender, senior manager of special events for Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd., says Dart envisions it to be an alternative space for concerts and events, other than the Camana Bay town centre.
“When we learned about Pageant Beach not being available for Jazz Fest, we thought it would be a very exciting opportunity for Camana Bay and so we reached out to DOT and our main goals and the festival’s goals are aligned,” Nikki says. “We’re really in support of Jazz Fest as a world-class event and growing the event along with DOT.”
The fact that Camana Bay is also a family-focused development ties in with Jazz Fest being a family-friendly event. As has been the case with previous Cayman Jazz Fests, children under 12 will be allowed in for free.
“We feel that Camana Bay lends itself to the family experience, so in terms of what we might do we are thinking of having maybe a kids’ area and offering some activities that way that can be conducive to a family experience,” Nikki says.
“We are planning to double our offerings in terms of food vendors, craft vendors, having a Cohiba lounge with a side stage for additional acts, and we are looking at many different options because we now have the land to do so,” says Rosa McLean, manager of national promotions and events at the Department of Tourism.
“This is now a year-round project whereby in January we are trying to secure dates,” Rosa says. “A lot of the time, as soon as we close the festival we are getting inquiries from our wholesale partners who sell the destination – what are the dates for next year? Can we pull together a package from now? [They tell us that] guests had a great time and want to book again for next year.”
Jazz Fest, which was created to boost tourism and increase visitation during the soft travel period, is hosted by the Department of Tourism and BET Event Productions.
More information, as well as tickets, an event schedule and contact details, can be found at caymanjazzfest.com. WH