Jazz Fest cancelled as DoT strapped for cash

| 31/08/2010

(CNS): Government is cancelling this year’s Jazz Fest as it says it does not have enough money to host the musical event and there has not been enough interest from the privatesector to make up the shortfall. In a statement released on Monday afternoon backbench government MLA Cline Glidden, said the Department of tourism budget was cut by $4million this year which had led to the lay off of twelve members of staff in the US and therefore could not find the $1.4milllion it costs to host the festival. Government had set aside CI$250,000 for this year and was looking for private sector participation to produce the event. However Glidden said that less than of third of the money needed had been committed.

“The Government has consulted extensively with the private sector, through the Tourism Advisory Council, including the Cayman Music & Entertainers Association and we are unanimously agreed that under the current economic conditions it was best to proceed without a jazzfest 2010 and instead focus on reviewing the jazzfest event concept, and agreeing with private sector how to best leverage a musical event to meet the needs of the tourism industry in 2011 and beyond,” Glidden said in the statement cancelling the festival which would have taken place in December.
Glidden said government hoped to make an announcement about next year’s festival by early November of this year.
The Jazz fest started in 2003 and had originally taken place at Pageant Beach on the West Bay Road, last year the festival moved to Camana Bay.
The festival had  become one of the country’s signature tourism events. Not only did it attract an increase of overnight visitors to the islands, specifically to see the headline acts, but it was also televised to some 45 million homes via BET the television channel and event production company which partnered with the DoT to produce the festival, promoting the islands in general.
Last year Alicia Keys was the headline act in previous years Michael Bolton, Chaka Khan and Natalie Cole have topped the bill supported by acts such as Anita Baker, Brian McKnight, Peabo Bryson, and Yolanda Adams. As well as the international stars a number of regional acts and local bands had also used the event to show case their talents on what was the biggest local stage of the year.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (39)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Face it, we live on an island of 60,000 people. Very few if any small communities of our size aroundthe world could afford to host a jazz festival with big headline acts. Stop over-reaching and save the money for things that are needed. If people want to see quality Jazz music, Atlanta and New Orleans have great Jazz Festivals every year. I’m sure both of these cities will welcome your tourist dollars.

  2. Beachboi says:

    "attract an increase in overnight visitors to the island"  What a LIE!!!  Who made this statement??  What a waste and mismanagement of our money!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Though the naysayers may not want to believe it, Jazz Fest 2010 did attract an increase of overnight visitors to the island.  That is a FACT and borne out by the FACT that tickets were sold either individually or as part of a package to persons living overseas.  Hmmmm do you think that they bought these tickets with intention of sitting at home or do you think that they might just have got on a plane and come down here?  Please make sure that you get your FACTS right before you accuse people of LIES

      • O'Really says:

        The issue isn’t whether Jazz Fest attracted overnight visitors, it is the cost to the public out of government funds. If last year cost $1.4m and attracted an additional 1000 visitors ( and I seriously doubt it was anywhere close to this number ) then each visitor was subsidised to the tune ( yes intended ) of $1400. Maybe they spent this amount or more in getting here and whilst here, but whatever they spent in general went into the pockets of the private sector.

        If this same private sector will not now step up to the plate for 2010, what does this say about their expert assessment of the cost benefits? Just by way of information, total visitors in Dec. 2007 were 30,300, 2008 28,200 and estimated for 2009 at 27,200. Jazz Fest is one more ego boost Cayman can’t afford right now.

  3. Anonymous says:

     Perhaps if government had not given away half the tickets to last year’s event to their buddies the event could be more self-sustaining. 

  4. Tim Ridley says:

    The Jazzfest is surely a great concept. But not one that the Cayman Government should be underwriting. This is a classic example of where the private sector tourism industry should step up to the plate. If it generates additional visitors and exposure for Cayman, the businesses that benefit should be pleased to pay the cost of Jazzfest as good advertising and promotion. Come on CITA.  

    • Anon says:

      Well, Tim- the Cayman government has been underwriting some seriously stupid stuff recently like the annex to Juju’s house. Alicia Keyes will quite likely be the last class act the island is to see for a while.  As for me, when I want an authentic Caribbean music experience I go over to Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke.  You’re a smart guy- what do you see worth underwriting here?  Please don’t say a floating bar at Stingray City.

      • Tim Ridley says:

        In the past, a number of well known class performers have come to Cayman without, as far as I know, public monies being used to pay them.

        My philosophy supports a much smaller government that provides the basic infrastructure (in its broadest sense) that a civil society properly needs. And the quid pro quo is that the private sector must stop asking for and getting hand outs of this kind. One of the problems at the moment is that many of the people who reject any further revenue measures and cry loudly for leaner government are the very same people who expect public monies to be used to pay Ms Keyes’ fee. I have nothing against Ms Keyes, but this inconsistency has to stop.  

        • Wicked Game says:

          "a number of well known class performers have come to Cayman" oh entertain us Timothy and list some of them. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    does cancelling the jazz fest now mean that civil servants won’t have to stress again about having their pay cut another 3.2%…as is rumoured to happen this November…?

    • Whizz Dom says:

      Please let this rumoured pay cut be true.  Can we have some swinging job cuts too?

  6. I have a question says:

    Have the cough cough "Economists" employed by the government done any sort of research into the tangible and intangible benefits of Jazz Fest? or is it still just a "good idea". Couldn’t someone try to quantify what the even means for the local economy in terms of visitors coming here specifically for the event and how much they spend on average on hotel, cars, food etc. then couldn’t they also factor in other benefits like the exposure on BET and what they does to attract visitors at a later stage. couldn’t we blanket BET with Cayman Islands Adverts ? Why not ? It’s our event and BET are being paid to showcase it. If and when we have all these facts and figures in hand decisions like this are easier to make and less likely to provoke criticism, unless of course the wrong decision is made despite the availability of data.



  7. Don't worry I wont stay says:

    So last years event cost $1.4 million dollars. Was there any offsetting revenue? Ticket sales, program advertising, sponsorship, concession fees, BET?

    Like most things we do here, a budget (looking for a better word to use) is made up. Then there is no thought of value engineering to meet the actual requirements, or available dollars.

    A jazz festival could easily be held this year. it just may not have potted palm trees lining the walkways, a stage that was suitable for a stadium event for 100,000 people, or this years hottest superstar.




  8. brainy braccer says:

    i must admit…the gov should not be susidising music festivals…but the same could be said about airlines, radio stations….and the civil service in general!

  9. Sir Henry Morgan says:

    Jazz fest was a joke anyway… the big act last year was a Rn’B singer!!

    Now lets replace it with roots reggae, culture, calypso, soca fest!

  10. Anonymous says:

    There may be no Alicia Keys to give it to this year, but by damn the Premier’s Awards have been ordered and they have to go to someone.

    So far the press is refusing to cooperate with that self-censoring suggestion, so the Premier will not be organizing a gala and giving any awards to them.

    Due to budget constrains the Jazz Fest, and perhaps Christmas for the rest of us, will be cancelled this year, so that only leaves Miss Cayman as the venue to "get his picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone".

  11. Anonymous says:

    A very good move – how needs it, or the beauty pagaents?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, let’s cancel everything and anything that may be cultural or entertaining in life for the people and keep on spending on lost court cases, travel, security…… the endless list!

    • Beachboi says:

      "how needs it"!!!!!  C’mon it was such a short statement!!!  Dont get me wrong it would have been a great one, but how drastic that you didnt spell it right.

  12. Anonymous says:

    All this nickel and dime stuff they cancelling but yet they spend so much of our money on other crazy unnecessary items everyday!!!  What is this Government doing should I dare ask, they probably don’t know themselves!!!  God Bless Cayman and its People!!!

    • Rorschach says:

      I believe that is what is known as being, "pennywise, but pound foolish"…. and boy are they ever…

  13. Jingo Jango says:

    That is a shame. It would have been nice to continue on from last year’s event to build the reputation of the event, the venue and the Country.

  14. Anonymous says:

    BTW, they could have cancelled Miss Cayman instead of Jazz Fest – they get more ROI from Jazz Fest!

    • Anonymous says:

      What a silly comparison.  It certainly does not cost the same to put on Miss Cayman as it does the Jass Fest.  Please don’t make stupid remarks.  There is almost nothing to aspire to for young Caymanian ladies around here.  Have a heart.  At least this way everybody gets a turn.  Maybe next year the Premier won’t have to make the choice and the country will have money for everything.

      • au revoir says:

        "Nothing to aspire to for young Caymanians ladies around here."  Nothing to aspire to – how about to become a doctor, an attorney, an architect, etc?

    • Anonymous says:

      "BTW, they could have cancelled Miss Cayman instead of Jazz Fest – they get more ROI from Jazz Fest!"


      Do you have the facts and figures to support this? As I recall, no one has been able to produce any hard evidence to show what benefit is derived from either of these events.  However in the case of the local beauty pageant, there is some credence to pushing forward.  The cost to produce is a fraction and what it does for the local populace I think far outweighs the benefits of Jazz Fest; at least for the native Caymanian, that is.

  15. Ron Kipp says:

    A good decison. When your broke you cut back. Many families in Cayman have had to do it. Painful sometimes but 100% right. I even support the postponement of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. And, folks, I helped originate the whole concept. I just wish they would kill the Beauty Pagnents. They went "out" when we reluctlently allowed women to have equal rights and responsibilities in our society.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the Jazz Fest has to be cancelled.

      What is more important: Christmas lights, House security, Personal securities, Housekeeper, Chaffeurs, 1st class travel around the world or the Jazz Fest, and that is just mentioning a fraction of the "perks" that is unnesscessary!


      • Anonymous says:

        I can tell you that anything that will benefit Caymanians is vetoed by this communist government we are now under.  Maybe the majority of Caymanians, that are taken in by large gifts during campaign time for the general elections, will stop and think, appliances wear out and if you do not have sufficient money to repair them, it does not really seem sensible and practical to trade your long-term benefits for something so trivial.  What good is a new fridge, when you do not have enough income to stock it or even to pay the electricity bill for running it.  Let’s stop selling our intelligence and honesty for "30 pieces of silver" (and I know McChavez Bush and Julidinijad can search their Bibles to see what that infers).

        Truly fed up Caymanian.

      • TOCP says:

        GOVERNOR- Re you reading this?  WHEN are you going to do your job?

      • Anonymous says:

        " Christmas lights, House security, Personal securities, Housekeeper, Chaffeurs, 1st class travel around the world or the Jazz Fest, and that is just mentioning a fraction of the "perks" that is unnesscessary!"

        Let me help you there: Hurricane Hilton, additions to Julie house, hotel stays for Julie in Cayman Brac even though she has her own house…and the newest …the new road in Cayman Brac that was paved to Ashton Reid Dr but then they went back to pave ….wait for it…Julianna’s church parking lot and the side road next to it.  Let’s not forget the only other side road that has been paved…Julianna’s secretary’s sister road.  

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t forget the other private parking lots that are being paved also! Maybe Donald Duck should make a FOI request as to how much was paid for these private pavings

    • Cat says:

      Hi Ron,


      Before I jump the gun to the wrong conclusion, can you please be so kind to clarify/elaborate more on what you meant by this last statement? 

      Time:20:23 30/08/10

      I just wish they would kill the Beauty Pagnents. They went "out" when we reluctlently allowed women to have equal rights and responsibilities in our society.


      • Ron Kipp says:

        Hi Cat,

        i would be glad to clarify, etc however do not respond to nameless persons. If it is that important to you, please ID yourself.

        Ron Kipp

  16. Bobby Anonymous says:

    No money for Jazz Fest? I think the Gov need’s all they can get for the very, very expensive palm trees going up at the new gov building. Any one know how much they cost????

    Not cheap I know!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Perfect decision! Government is learning at long last. Stop putting on things and paying for them when the tourism sector does sod-all and benefits without putting anything out. That’s why we don’t have a Tourism Authority. They want Government to pay for it while they benefit. Hallelujah! Have we finally learned to stop them shafting us?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Couldn’t we use some of Julie’s $9M to do this… Seems more worthwhile than building the Taj Mahal of all hurricane shelters on the Brac..

    Ah well, priorities are priorities..Building monuments seems to be the thingto do for each successive government..I just hope Julie remembers  where that got the PPM..



  19. Anonymous says:

    Showcase our own talent.Its still here.

    • Anonymous says:

      SunFest in Jamaica is a big hit.  People come from all over the world.  They come to hear people that they know not people they have never heard of.