Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The production that is the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues

The stage at the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival is a sight to behold, with a fully equipped main stage, smooth changes from band to band and sensational performances. But it doesn’t just happen without the expertise and know-how of an extensive production team from TurnKey Productions that keeps everything running.

Behind the scenes, it takes months of preparation for the colossal three-day show at the Aqueduct in Rosehall, Montego Bay to become the first-world, critically acclaimed, much-admired Festival it has become. This year, the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival will turn into a weeklong explosion of The Art of Music, and plans are plans are well advanced for another exceptional TurnKey production.

Robert Stewart, production manager for the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival, oversees the designs and rental of sound, lighting, staging, backline and video systems as well as hiring of the production staff. He has been working with the Festival for years and has been contracted for the 2010 show.

“Producing the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival comes with a complex set of challenges. The solution to the challenge of producing a successful Festival is a team of skilled professionals and a high level of organisation. Audio engineers, lighting directors and designers, video projection technicians, spotlight operators and stage hands all play an important role in the production of the Festival.”

According to Stewart he usually starts vetting the artiste production requirements four months in advance, before revving up the production schedule, which he says can get “extremely hectic” until the Festival is complete.

The skills needed to stage such a grandeur production take a versatile and experienced crew. Behind the scenes an approximated 120 persons are involved in the direct production of the event, while the Festival itself employs over 1000 persons.

Throughout the years the Festival has seen performers from the likes of Alicia Keys, Kenny Rogers, Air Supply, John Legend, Patti LaBelle, Kenny G, Erykah Badu, Dione Warwick, Michael Bolton, Gladys Knight among other timeless acts have graced the stage. With large bands, elaborate costume changes and elaborate shows the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues producers have learnt to deal with it all and keep on growing, and according to Stewart they will continue to adapt to new exciting changes that the Festival present.

He said, “We have to keep abreast of current technologies for use in the production of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. HD video, digital audio consoles, digital show control and the latest lighting fixtures are all used in the production of the Festival.”

The 2010 staging of the JAMAICA Jazz and Blues Festival will be a seven-day long celebration of The Art of Music that will see Montego Bay engulfed in the awesome sights and sounds of the TurnKey Productions event from January 24-30.

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