Lo­cal pro­mot­ers, events take f light to Florida

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Cur­tis Camp­bell Gleaner Writer en­ter­tain­ment@glean­erjm.com

MORE AND more lo­cal party pro­mot­ers and events are now tak­ing flight to Florida in an ef­fort to ex­pand the scope and reach of their brands.

Soca events like I Love Soca and Dance­hall vs Soca, as well as events like MAPS, Sandz, Igloo and Marco Polo, have ben­e­fited so much from the use of so­cial me­dia (Face­book and In­sta­gram) for pro­mot­ing its brand that there are grow­ing de­mands for these events out­side of Ja­maica, es­pe­cially in Florida.

The Gleaner re­cently spoke with the vice-pres­i­dent of Mi­ami Broward Car­ni­val, John Beck­ford, who re­vealed that Ja­maican events have a high suc­cess rate in Florida due to the fact that the is­land leads other Caribbean coun­tries where num­bers are con­cerned.

“Ja­maica ac­counts for the largest English-speak­ing Caribbean mar­ket in Florida. We are only ri­valled by Haiti and they are not English-speak­ing ... Ja­maica also has icons like Shelly-Ann Fraser, Usain Bolt and Bob Mar­ley, so the coun­try is very mar­ketable. Over­all, there is a big sup­port for soca and dance­hall mu­sic and that is also tes­ti­mony to hav­ing a strong pres­ence of Caribbean

peo­ple in the State, es­pe­cially in South Florida,” he said.

Host­ing events in the United States un­der­stand­ably means that event or­gan­is­ers will have to adopt to the rules of a new cul­ture, and Beck­ford says the re­quire­ments ex­ceed those in place in Ja­maica. He also noted that ad­ver­tis­ing can be overly ex­pen­sive.

“We try to make ad­e­quate use

of so­cial me­dia and I find it to be more cost ef­fec­tive. We also mit­i­gate costs by se­cur­ing me­dia spon­sors and, as such, we man­age with­out hav­ing to spend hard dol­lars,” he said.

An­other lo­cal pro­moter, Fabian Law­less, who re­cently took his Marco Polo event to Florida, says the event can be seen as a fran­chise.

“We pretty much con­quered

Kingston. We went to Ocho Rios and pretty much con­quered Ocho Rios. We have one of the big­gest events in the coun­try and we are look­ing to do other ar­eas as well. We were in­vited to Mi­ami by fans of the sixyear-old event and we de­cided to take up the chal­lenge. We thought now would be the best time,” he said.

PRICEY OVER­SEAS

He, too, made men­tion that com­mer­cial ad­ver­tis­ing was quite pricey over­seas, how­ever, party hop­ping and the hand­ing out of flyers have come in handy.

They also have hopes of tak­ing Marco Polo to coun­tries like Trinidad and Cay­man.

Sandz pro­moter An­drew Ellis also shared that there has been a heavy de­mand for the party in Florida since 2015.

“The mar­ket is ideal be­cause of the heavy con­cen­tra­tion of the Ja­maican di­as­pora in the South Florida re­gion. Be­ing one of the more recog­nis­able event brands here in Ja­maica, it is a good op­por­tu­nity to tran­si­tion into a mar­ket of younger per­sons within the di­as­pora who are al­ways up to date with what’s hot and trending at ‘yard’ (Ja­maica),” he said.

“One of the ad­van­tages of pro­mot­ing in that mar­ket is that there is, es­sen­tially, a larger pool of pa­trons avail­able just in terms of pop­u­la­tion when com­pared to our home here in Ja­maica, which means more op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth. The main dis­ad­van­tage is that there would be a lot more things to con­sider in terns of gov­er­nance, poli­cies and li­cences, so it is im­por­tant to do your re­search be­fore ex­plor­ing this av­enue,” he added.

The pro­moter also be­lieves that host­ing events out­side of the is­land may be ben­e­fi­cial to pro­mot­ers who are seek­ing to avoid Ja­maica’s sat­u­rated mar­ket. He also high­lighted that for any brand to grow, it must be open to ex­pan­sion.

It was re­cently an­nounced that the iconic stage show, Sting, would be head­ing to other coun­tries next year un­der the ban­ner ‘One World Sting’.

WIN­STON SILL/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Law­less Events presents Rum Bar Rum Marco Polo, dubbed ‘The Wild, Wild Wet Party’, held at LIME Golf Academy, Park Boule­vard, New Kingston, on Sun­day, Au­gust 28, 2011.

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