Kingston’s progression as a competitive creative city appears promising when comparing the municipality’s activities over the last two years. In December 2015, Kingston was the first Caribbean city to be appointed to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, having birthed six distinct musical genres (mento, ska, reggae, rocksteady, dub and dancehall), also boasting the region’s only visual and performing arts college, a sound-system culture and innumerable recording studios. In December 2016, the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) accounts for 594 events, and have noted a 4% increase in December 2017. This month has seen 621 events so far, with little less than 100 to go before the month ends.
Mayor Delroy Williams recently announced that the city of Kingston has earned in excess of J$28 million this year, from entertainment permits alone.
According to Williams, the KSAMC have entered dialogue with the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) and the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) to develop easier processing for event promoters.
“Greater compliance is a part of the increase. The application process is easier and will get easier as we go along. There is also awareness among promoters, so it’s becoming easier to follow regulation and just apply for the entertainment licence,” Williams told The Sunday Gleaner.
“We are more vigilant. We are visiting the promoters, because really, we don’t want to turn them off. If there’s an event that we’re aware of and the promoters have not applied for their permits, we contact them,” he continued.
“The issue of entertainment zones is very important to us,” Williams shared, revealing plans to present the Ministry of Culture with recommendations for establishing these zones in the New Year.
“The KSAMC is now discussing and looking at making recommendations to the Ministry of Culture for these areas. We’re also looking at Mas Camp, but we have to do more research,” he continued.
“Sabina Park would be perfect. I’ve been to Sabina Park, on the outside and inside, while there is a major event happening. When I’m outside, I’m not hearing the sound from the event. It’s almost as if you’re not hearing it. There is a level you can have the sound at Sabina Park that won’t be heard outside. [Sabina Park] should be easy to classify as an entertainment zone,” Williams said.
Along with the cricket venue, the mayor suggested the Kingston Waterfront and the Palisadoes main road as other areas for consideration. “Along the coastline, from the JPS facility by Rockfort along to Victoria Pier can easily be an entertainment zone; and if [residents] choose to be in those areas, [they] would know at times, there may be increased activity, because it is a city. City life is different than urban and rural lifeand some things come with city life,” he said.
“What is sure, we at the KSAMC have been pushing the issue of entertainment. We want to be the entertainment capital of the Caribbean. Music is a part of usa big industry, quite valuable to our economy. The night-time economy is huge, so we’re trying to promote and encourage understanding that there are guidelines we have to follow,” Williams said.