That is the question entertainment and cultural promoters and performers must be asking themselves after a quiet week in Kingston, Jamaica entertainment-wise.
The ‘terror in Tivoli’ has inflicted wounds not just on the hundreds injured and scores killed, but on Jamaica’s economy and Kingston’s vibrant entertainment scene.
The Jamaica Observer reports that a host of entertainment events, from regularly scheduled parties like Uptown Mondays, Weddy Wednesdays and Dudus’ own Passa Passa, have been cancelled.
Larger one-off or seasonal events like the scheduled WI v South Africa test cricket, the final staging of May Daze and the Jamaica Observer’s Food Awards, have also been moved, cancelled and postponed.
Islandista-wise, Saint International’s StyleWeek is a major casualty. StyleWeek was originally set for this weekend but the organisers called it off, issuing a statement:
“After much consultations and observation of the prevailing political climate, we think it’s prudent to change the date for this year’s staging of Styleweek Jamaica.”
Styleweek is now slated for July 9-11.
Meanwhile, Caribbean Fashion Week has also taken the same approach- pushing back their event by just a week from its original June 8-14 date to June 15-21.
Reggae Sumfest, possibly Jamaica’s most high profile event full stop, has also had to issue a statement on how they will approach the July 18-24 reggae festival. Johnny Gourzong, one of the executive producers, said:
“Reggae Sumfest is important to Jamaica’s tourism and impacts positively on the economy and despite reduced sponsorship, we decided it was important to beat the odds and host the Festival this year”.
One ‘benefit’ is that Sumfest is slated, as always for St.James, on the northern coast of Jamaica, hours away from the epicentre of the violence in Kingston. A drawback, as anyone who knows JA knows, is that St. James/MoBay is not exactly sweetness and light and there were rumblings that St. James would have been a focal point for the unrest that Dudus supporters allegedly threatened to spread throughout the land.
It will be interesting to see how these two high-profile events will be able to deal with the fall-out from the Tivoli violence.
The fact that they have chosen just to push them back indicates that there is too much at stake to cancel them altogether but with people so leery of Jamaica in general and Kingston in particular, we can only hope for the best for them … and for Jamaica’s entertainment scene on the whole.
One thing, Jamaicans are nothing if not resilient. We are hopeful.