Jamaica Rum Festival unites two worlds

March 12, 2019
Orville Hall of Dance Xpressionz conducts a dance session with performers Wiya Waist (right) and Caterpillar during day two of the Jamaica Rum Festival.
Synth Orchestra in full flow.
4th Genna leader Aidonia closes the show on day one of the festival.
Shorn Hector photos Sharon Burke enjoying one the live performances.

The Jamaica Rum Festival, presented by J Wray and Nephew Limited’s Appleton Estate brand, went off without a hitch (at least none that the attendants could identify) with the balance created between what many called the ‘best of both worlds’.

Consumers, corporate and entertainment industry professionals, partygoers, and thrill seekers converged at the Hope Botanical Gardens last Saturday and Sunday with the expectation that it would be a day of drinking and discovery.

Like reggae music, the sounds of dancehall, ska and mento as well as classical-infused music set the mood for the days’ activities, which included mixology competitions, educational dance sessions, bartender choreographies, seminars and workshops and dynamic performances from some of Jamaica’s finest. Day one featured the likes of Sevana, Pluto Shervington, Wayne Marshall, and the event headliner Aidonia, while festival-goers were exposed to the vocal talents of Ikaya, Jesse Royal, Agent Sasco, Flourgon and the closing act, Sanchez on day two.

Speaking to THE STAR, veteran selector/producer Maurice ‘Jack Scorpio’ Johnson explained: “Rum is part of our culture and to see rum expose music, dance, dancehall and reggae culture ... is a good thing.”

“From a man into the music for many years, it really lifts my spirit to see a festival of this nature; I did a bit of tasting but I am not a drinker,” he added.

He congratulated J Wray and Nephew Limited for its efforts and his friend and colleague, Mikey Bennett, who was responsible for putting together the entertainment menu but his praises were not without recommendations.

“I enjoyed the exhibition by the dancers teaching dance through the years, but maybe next time we can bring in some more of the older artistes to not only entertain but educate; no one knows rum more than the old artistes, at least them know about it more than the young ones, who are blinded by all these new liquor brands on the market,” he said.

He also urged the organisers and future guests to come out with their fold-up chairs as not much seating was available in the food court, and various activity areas for the large turnout which was the complaint of several persons.

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