New site will allow Jazz Fest to grow

Cayman Jazz Fest’s new home on unused land at the back of Camana Bay adjacent to the North Sound will allow for more space as the festival continues to grow, said the Department of Tourism.

Jazz Fest site

This photo of the Jazz Fest site shows the sites waterfront setting. Where the white container sits will be a vendor area, while foot traffic will enter the site from the orange fenced bridge. The stage and audience seating will be set up on the cleared area of land. Photo: Anna Wootton

‘After finding out that Pageant Beach was unavailable and inspecting nine separate sites in Grand Cayman, including privately-owned and crown land, we are confident that Camana Bay is the best location for the festival,’ said Acting Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott.

Rosa McLean, manager of national promotions and events at the Department of Tourism, gave further details on the various site inspections that the department carried out while addressing media during a tour of the new Jazz Fest site last Thursday.

‘Some sites we reviewed were George Town Primary, North Side beach, Rum Point Club, North Side football field, Safehaven in addition to other Crown land that just wouldn’t lend itself. Another one was the cemetery in Savannah as well as Savannah school,’ she said.

Ms McLean added that the specifications the Department had when searching for land included a minimum lot of six acres, and a waterfront space to maintain the island feel of the festival.

‘Pageant Beach had six and a half acres, but a lot of people who have been to Jazz Fest before know that a lot of that land was unused because of the terrain, so when we went out on our search it had to be least six acres of land that we could use fully and also develop for years to come,’ she said.

‘We ended with Camana Bay because it has so many legs for us – parking, for one, from 75 spaces [at Pageant Beach] to 1,600 [at Camana Bay]. We have eight and a half acres, right now we have room for six acres with two and a half acres for future growth as the festival grows and our partnership strengthens.’

Advantages to the site also include having piped water and the possibility of permanent lighting in future years, as at present the Department of Tourism brings generators in for lighting on the event nights.

‘We will have piped water; we’ve never had that before, we’ve had a Flowers truck onsite that piped the facilities so people could be sanitary at Pageant Beach,’ said Ms McLean.

Advertisements will be taken out in the local media in the near future appealing for applications from local food and drink vendors, arts and craft vendors and artists to audition, said Jo Gammage, acting public relations manager for the Department of Tourism.

Ms Gammage added that Cayman Jazz Fest will still be held at Pedro St. James on Thursday, 3 December but will move to Camana Bay on Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 December.

Thanks to an A-list line-up of stars, including headliner Alicia Keys, event organisers are anticipating a larger turnout than ever before at this year’s Jazz Fest, added Ms McLean.

‘We felt that we should prepare ourselves for the masses, and that’s what we’re doing for this year,’ she said, adding that the price for the tickets is being ‘evaluated’ at present.

‘The calibre of artists actually has dictated what level the tickets should be at,’ she said. ‘Particularly on Thursday nights which are more upscale, the level of artists is higher and of course with Alicia Keys on Saturday night we would anticipate some change but not totally significant.’

Ms McLean added that the department hoped to have tickets available for sale by the end of the month, and a new website domain had been purchased for the Jazz Fest, which is caymanjazzfest.com.

The website also has a new look, and the Department will be announcing the launch of this website shortly.

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