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Celine Dion wows Jamaica

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Celine Dion wows Jamaica

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A chaotic traffic pile-up on the North Coast Highway corridor threatened to muddy the best-ever Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, yet failed to overwhelm the performance of top-billed artiste, Celine Dion.
According to Walter Elmore, chairman of Art of Music Productions (AMP), organiser of the event, at the end of the day people will forget the traffic problem, but won’t forget how they were thrilled by the stellar feat of Dion.
Abandoning all systems, drivers transformed the two-lane highway into five, causing total gridlock for persons coming into Trelawny from Kingston and Montego Bay.
By 11 p.m., a conservative estimate of 20,000 people had poured into the Trelawny Stadium venue, setting the record for the largest turnout of patrons in the 16-year history of the festival. However, many complained that it took them hours to experience the magic that only an award-winning singer such as Celine Dion could have created.
Dion’s performance was indisputably one of the outstanding acts to grace the jazz stage.
Elmore stepped up the event with sophisticated onstage lighting. The stage display was one massive video wall, complemented by three specially lighted screens wrapped around a control tower in the middle of the venue.
The sound system, uniquely designed by Dion’s sound engineer, was built to ensure that every square inch of the venue had perfect sound quality.
Elmore noted that every year he fills the airlines and the hotel rooms with visitors, and should not be held responsible for the indiscipline on the highways.
“The police were retained to manage the traffic system, and once there isn’t substantial police presence on the road, the situation will not abate,” he argues. According to him, the police were pulled from their respective duties to escort dignitaries.
Additional parking
In addition, Elmore said extra parking was provided on Market Street in Falmouth, across from the cruise-ship terminal, where patrons could park and be shuttled to the venue.
But many patrons are not letting up so easily and have cautioned that their continued attendance is dependent on drastic changes to traffic management.
“There had to be constant monitoring, evaluation and adjustments to the process of traffic throughout the night as the crowd swelled and patrons grew anxious at the prospect of possibly missing a favoured performer. It took me three and half hours from the Ritz-Carlton in Rose Hall to get to the venue, and when I got there I was required to walk through the thickest of dust to get to the gates,” visiting United States communications specialist Yvonne Wilks said.
Friday’s festival showcased the talents of Canada’s Jully Black; jazz great Nicole Henry; Jamaica’s popular duo, siblings Tami Chynn and Tessanne Chin; the rich and inspiring sensation Richie Stephens, accompanied by the ‘proper’ Gentleman; and the epitome of jazz in this era, Celine Dion.