Midnight at Bal Harbour sizzles on the waterfront
There were three events happening simultaneously at the waterfront in downtown Kingston on New Year's Eve, but despite seeing the other events as competition, organisers of Marquee Entertainment's Midnight at Bal Harbour welcomed the multiple events and labelled it as 'growth' for downtown Kingston.
Speaking with The Gleaner during the event, Jermaine Brown, managing partner for Marquee Midnight at Bal Harbour, said that with downtown Kingston slowly becoming the 'entertainment hub' of Jamaica, "There is nowhere in the world that 'downtown' is not the place to be, and we want our 'downtown' to get back to that place. To be honest, I consider the organisers of the other events here partners. The more events that are held here will make downtown 'cool' again. Events like these complement each other. You have the UDC event for the masses; you have BOJ doing their own office thing; Ribbiz having their own event as well; and all of us are collectively making downtown the place to be," he said. "We're here to stay and so we want downtown to embrace us. We want to put our little stamp on the entertainment scene here and be a real part of the rebuilding of downtown."
With the Appleton Estate-sponsored New Year's Eve event now in its third year, Brown says he is grateful for the support he has received from sponsors.
Growing in strength
He noted that the financial climate in Jamaica has made it harder for entertainment events to be sustained for long periods, but says Bal Harbour has been growing from strength to strength since its inception, and he has to give credit to the help he has received from sponsors. "We can't ring in the New Year at an event that's not all-inclusive, it has to be that experience and with the turn of the economy, we knew it would have been hard, but our sponsors really came through for us. I have to thank Grace, Appleton, Flow, Wisynco, everybody. We couldn't have done it without them," he said. "It was a crazy idea. We saw a gap in the industry; nobody was really looking at New Year's Eve, and we wanted to develop and build something for persons to come out and celebrate and have their first great memories for the New Year, and I have to say I'm very proud of the team we pulled it off.
"This event is world-class. I have visitors here from Canada, Vancouver, London, and some of them expressed to me that they don't have anything like this at home. They were so happy and at the end of the day, that makes us happy."
And happy they were. As the clock struck midnight, the fireworks display lit up the harbour and Renaissance, with the DJ Franco, Lantern, Jazzy T and Cruz, kept feet dancing into 2019.