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Thursday 20 June 2019
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Live Music District returns Oct 19

Nyiida is one of the young artistes who performed in Phase I of the Live Music District (LMD). Phase II of the LMD will be launched next weekend in Port of Spain.
Nyiida is one of the young artistes who performed in Phase I of the Live Music District (LMD). Phase II of the LMD will be launched next weekend in Port of Spain.

THE Live Music District (LMD) Phase 2 will be launched October 19, with the resulting changes/improvements from Phase I’s testing, and continues until December 16 and will include a special parang feature.

General manager of MusicTT Melissa Jimenez said other proposed timelines, which are subject to change, are Phase 3 from March 21-June 15, 2019 and Phase 4 from August 16-November 8.

Of the $334 million allocated to culture in the budget, the LMD project of MusicTT will again receive $1 million to be shared across all projects for fiscal 2018/19, the same as in 2018.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert, during his budget 2018/2019 presentation last week, said in light of its success, the pilot programme in Port of Spain will now be extended throughout TT with live music performances year-round, providing, in the process, collaborations among hotels and venues, and in particular for tourism programmes.

However, some people questioned whether it was a really a success or not.

Francis Escayg, director of MusicTT said failure is always someone’s inability to achieve their goals, whatever that may be, while success is never defined the same way by any two people.

“In the beginning there was nothing, then there was the Live LMD,” he said. “The LMD provides an opportunity for restaurants, bars and clubs to be part of a vibrant entertainment initiative that features local artists’ performances.”

For local artists looking for a way to introduce themselves to a wider audience, Escayg said this LMD provides that opportunity, and that is its main intention. He is also confident that it will grow into a vibrant, local, nightlife scene across the country.

Escayg said early positive and enthusiastic responses from both venues and artists created great anticipation and excitement.

“Like all products that go to market, the projected outcome on paper is never like what really happens in the real world, and because of that we say that the work now start. We launched the LMD in trial mode for about three months, knowing that we most probably would have to tweak, cut, adjust and add in order to proceed to the next phase. And that is where we are presently.

“Based on the post-mortem results of the trial period, it worked.

“Are there challenges? Yes.

“Are we looking to address those challenges with a view to moving forward? Yes. The work continues.”

Jimenez told Newsday some 167 artistes registered for the LMD this year, out of whom LMD venues hired a total of 68, based on the artistes’ electronic press kits.

She said: “Performances were executed mostly by early-to mid-career performers who have gained traction in their own genre circles, like Yasha, Nyiida, Dezii, Candice Caton, Noche Blanca, Xone, The Artiste Kage, Voice Queen, Daniel Griffith, etc. More experienced acts included Brother Resistance, Jason Seecharan (H2O Phlo), Vizion Band and Digicel Rising Star winners Donald Job and Neisha Guy.”

Thirty venues were used for the project. That included two malls, six restaurants, nine bars, four hotels, one food truck and eight public spaces.

Jimenez said: “The pilot was in the area of Port of Spain and environs only. It will remain in the Port of Spain area for Phase 2. However, Imbert said it was supposed to spread throughout the country.

She explained: “At this time, MusicTT does not have the capacity (funding or human resource) to spread throughout the country. However, we will be looking into focusing on other areas for future phases.”

She said the 11 major events were attended by approximately 2,900 people, and there were 363 performances, with approximately 23 a week taking place over 16 weekends.

So, what is MusicTT’s vision for next year and what can spectators look forward to?

Jimenez said: “Monthly signature public performances to promote the LMD and some of its registered artists on a larger stage. These events usually feature a steelband or more established local artiste as the headliner.”

MusicTT will also be partnering with the Ministry of Culture for LMD Phase 4 to be part of Carifesta in TT next year.

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