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Sponsorship needed, says Junior Taylor

 Over the years the Jamaican stage has seen many of the world’s top acts from the world of music.

However in recent times there have been calls for local promoters to bring the mega stars. But one promoter says based on the prevailing economic environment, the cost for these artistes to perform in Jamaica is prohibitive.

Junior Taylor, promoter of Soul In the Sun — a two-day festival held in Montego Bay in 2014, says the macro economic situation in which Jamaica finds itself and a lack of sufficient corporate sponsorship work against promoters who wish to bring in these acts.

“Sponsorship is a must for any major event here in Jamaica. Sponsorship allows a promoter to absorb some of the cost which would ultimately be meted out to the paying public in ticket prices. When one thinks of the overall cost to a patron to attend a festival… transportation, accommodation and personal costs, when you add to that an increased ticket price you see that it does not allow for events of this nature to be feasible. Jamaica simply cannot afford the big acts at this time,” he stated.


Meanwhile, Taylor told Splash that he and his team are working towards a staging of Soul in the Sun this year.“With the fall out of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and Sweatfest the calls for Soul In the Sun have been loud. We are trying to see if we can fulfil this demand for late this year.

He further explained that the major acts at this time are Beyonce’, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder and Justin Bieber and for any event to be held in Jamaica which involved these acts a promoter would be looking at a budget in the region of US$2 million.



“The performance fees alone for these acts range from US$1 to 1.2 million. Then there are the attendant costs of hotel, airfare and ground transportation for the artist and their party which can be as many as 50 persons. These include musicians, managers, personal assistants, stylists, make-up artists and family. There are also personal requirements for the artists such as specific musical equipment, lighting and sound effects and props. When you add to that the cost to prepare a venue — overall production costs, advertising, marketing and administration — the costs are really pushed sky high.”

He said the average ticket cost in the United States to see an artist such as Beyonce is in the region of US$150 for general admission and about US$300 for VIP tickets and noted that there is no way a promoter could charge these prices here in Jamaica, given the current exchange rate.

“We simply don’t have the population to come out to an event which would allow for a promoter to recoup. Madison Square Garden in New York can accommodate 18,000 patrons and the population in New York is approximately 8.5 million persons… that’s more than twice that of Jamaica, so you see that that a market like that has the numbers to draw on,” Taylor said.


“For one of these major acts to perform in Jamaica, with limited sponsorship, the ticket prices would have to be US$150 and $200, and at least 18,000 persons would have to attend the event. Even so the promoter would be breaking even or making a very small profit,” he emphazised.

Jamaica’s pride of place on the global music scene as the birthplace of reggae and international icon Bob Marley, the country has always been a pull for major international acts. In recent times and with the existence of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and Reggae Sumfest, international acts such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Usher, Chris Brown, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Toni Braxton, John Legend and Jennifer Hudson have all performed for local audiences.

— By Richard Johnson


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