Organisers of the Jamaica Rum Festival have announced that this year’s staging will be a virtual one, starting from March 21, and culminating on March 27, 2021.
The announcement came during the festival’s launch, streamed live on its social media channels on Thursday.
This virtual experience is being presented in partnership with Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Tourism Enhancement Fund, in conjunction with leading local rum brands Appleton Estate, Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, Kingston 62, Rum-Bar, Hampden Estate, Rum Fire and Monymusk Plantation Rums.
As with previous stagings, Appleton Estate will present the live concert at the Jamaica Rum Festival.
Leleika-Dee Barnes, channel and customer marketing director, J Wray & Nephew Limited, spoke to the brand’s continued relationship with music.
“Over the past 10 years, Appleton Estate has demonstrated the inextricable link between rum and Jamaican music, both of which are signposts of our culture. Most recently, our National Rum Day and Reserve the Night activations have been met with resounding success. These activities, along with Appleton Estate Signature Nights in the past, have showcased the power of music to drive education about our storied expressions. The Jamaica Rum Festival, therefore, would be incomplete without music, so once again, Appleton Estate is pleased to present the Festival’s live concert,” said Barnes.
Barnes announced that international superstar Shaggy will headline the show, with Shenseea and Sizzla also rostered to perform.
Valón Thorpe, festival director and CEO of Mystique Integrated, assured viewers of the virtual launch, that despite the new format of the Jamaica Rum Festival, persons can expect a similar experience to its physical stagings over the past two years:
“The festival will be presented as a virtual experience, with tweaks to match its prior physical counterparts which we expect to elicit the same immersive experience via mobile and traditional devices,” he said.
Continuing, Thorpe spoke to the other offerings of the virtual staging of the event: “To set the tone for the festival, we will offer a Virtual Rum Heritage Tour spanning the over 270-year history of Jamaican rum. Through this tour, those who tune in will learn about the production and manufacture of our rums, the evolution of the industry and how it has become interwoven into the fabric of everyday life in Jamaica. We will also be continuing with our seminars, which have been met with resounding success. Persons will be able to purchase seminar tickets via Gustazos and redeem their seminar kits for a deep-dive into the world of rums. Seminars will take place from March 22 to March 26.”
In continuing its partnership with the Tourism Enhancement Fund, The Jamaica Rum Festival will provide an e-commerce platform for artisans, where persons can purchase rum-inspired craft items via the Jamaica Rum Festival website.
The entertainment sector has been among those hardest hit by the necessary restrictions on physical gathering resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic. This, noted Thorpe, spurred Appleton Estate to explore ways in which the festival could be hosted safely to create a digital space for sharing Jamaica’s rum, music, culture, and history.
He added: “Our country enjoys an enviable reputation in the world of rums, renowned for the ‘funk’ that is a result of the geographical indicators which make them inimitable. Thus, our Jamaica Rum Festival shines the light on the local distillers who have helped define and propel the industry over generations with expertise, skill and passion.”