TOBAGO Jazz Experience 2019, from a musical standpoint, was a tremendous success. On Wednesday, Tobago Festivals Commission Chairman George Leacock said it was a success economically as well.
Speaking during the post Executive Council media briefing, Leacock said, “If we use the projection normally used for estimating tourism returns, the returns were significant and when the study results come out it will indicate that. In terms of the event, if you are talking about a dollar-on-dollar return, funds spent on artistes and systems and so on, that was not an initial object but certainly our cost recovery and our cost control methodologies have worked. We expect the overall output from the (House of ) Assembly would probably be less and the overall returns from the gate receipts and sponsorships would be more.”
He added, “At Pigeon Point we have done better and I really don’t want to push in terms of figures, but we have done better by one third.”
Leacock said he had received positive feedback on the three-day jazz event and will continue to work towards improving the experience. “Putting quality performance on stage – with quality lighting and sound – is the number one objective, so that persons can better enjoy the product we have to offer.”
George said patrons were elated by the added VVIP area for International Night and he is working on tightening the loose screws to guide the planning process towards improving the event in 2020.
When asked about the total spent to host the festival from a $12 million budget, George said the commission spent less than their budget.
“We do have secure couriers collecting tickets, finalising distributions and money. Our tallying this year, because we didn’t use the NLCB system, includes collecting tickets and results from nine different places in Trinidad and about three different places in Tobago. It will take a little while before it’s all straight and square but it will be.”
Leacock described this year’s jazz event marketing as very good, adding that the commission focused on providing top quality artistes.
R&B icon Toni Braxton and pop rock legend Michael Bolton were both well received on Sunday and left patrons fully satisfied that they received their money’s worth.
“We didn’t just want anybody, we wanted somebody who would fit the demographic that we thought would want to travel to participate in the festival... It’s easier to market high quality performances than to market persons who people don’t want to see.”
This year, Leacock said the crowd was treated with more performances by soca artistes to balance the cast of Jamaican reggae artistes for Jazz in the East on Saturday night. He said he felt honoured to host a night for local talent on Jazz on the Waterfront last Thursday.
He said a team headed by Dr Selvon Hazel, chief economist at the Division of Finance, will establish a report on this year’s jazz event. “Those persons were deployed for the festival and we look forward to their report,” he said.
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said he was pleased with the outcome of the festival. He said even though the commission added a cover charge of $125 for the Speyside Jazz in the East, it did not affect the attendance.