Downtown Kgn carnival gets lifeline

Music

Downtown Kgn carnival gets lifeline

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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Things are looking up for this year's staging of Downtown Kingston Carnival, according to organisers. The 20-year-old event nearly tanked due to lack of corporate sponsorship.

“We are good to go. Several corporate entities have reached out to us since the [ Jamaica Observer's] article...We don't have a big sponsor, but we can get things rolling from there. I expect more companies to come on board,” Oneil “Carnival Boss” Smith, Downtown Kingston Carnival principal, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Last month, the Observer highlighted that the carnival's 2020 staging was uncertain due to dwindling sponsors.

“This morning I signed a sponsorship deal with Rum Fire,” he said.

He listed long-time supporters Big Jo, and Cari-Med as partners, while Digicel has pledged it support.

“Carnival is the people's event, and even the higglers and wholesales benefit from it...When we started Downtown Kingston Carnival, people of different political divide and communities came together. It help show Jamaica that downtown was not a war zone...and we get support from the police,” he said.

“We have grown beyond that. It's like a family thing, People come from all 'bout. We even get enquires from abroad,” he continued.

The principal said this year's staging could cost upwards of $25 million. He said he pawned his Rolex watch to assist with expenses.

“Right now, I don't even have a watch. But I'm not doing it for the money; just to see how happy it makes people is my satisfaction,” he said.

Downtown Kingston Carnival's first event is 'Short Shorts' and 'Crazy Socks' scheduled for Container Hot Spot on Duke Street in Kingston on February 29.

The initial venue of Bouremouth Beach Park in east Kingston had to be scrapped due to an on going zone of special operation in that section of the Corporate Area.

Other events include: a beach fete on March 29; a series of soca and dancehall events over the Easter weekend (April 10 to 12); and a street parade on April 13.

Last April, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer that the Corporate Area had experienced a major economic boost due to carnival, as hotels were all filled to capacity.

Downtown Kingston Carnival started in 2000.

The principal said Downtown Kingston Carnival, in the past, has managed to pull up to 10,000 patrons and people look forward to it.

“I just want the support to expand it to what I want it to be,” he said.

Part proceeds from this year's staging is slated for a children's treat and to assist with tertiary education for the event's volunteers.


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