J$4-billion fallout from cancelled Dream Weekend
As promised, the organisers of Dream Weekend on Monday announced their decision regarding the staging of this year's highly anticipated summer festival in the resort town of Negril.
A statement posted to social media noted that after continuous dialogue with the various government entities "we have been advised that due to the continued danger of COVID-19, large festivals like our beloved Dream Weekend Jamaica will not be permitted to happen during the summer of 2020".
Originally scheduled to be held August from 5 to 9, Dream Weekend will now be staged August 5 to 9, 2021.
Dream Entertainment said that it was a very difficult decision, both emotionally and financially, and revealed that the entity has "spent almost an entire year planning and replanning this experience and paying tremendous expenses related to marketing, artiste deposits, staff costs and accommodation".
In an interview with THE STAR about the losses in real terms, Kamal Bankay, director of public relations for Dream Entertainment, pointed out that losses to the company are different from losses to the country and the overall economic impact.
"The economic impact of Dream Weekend to the Negril community and the linkage industries to our product is estimated to be J$4 billion," Bankay revealed. He explained that the figure is arrived at based on surveys done by the Government.
"When they survey a consumer, both local and international, and ask how much they spent per day and how long they stayed, and multiply those figures by the number of people, that's what it works out to be," he said.
Cannot do much about it
Bankay added that the hotels, transport, food and beverage, vendors and all the suppliers who produce the event - production, artistes, DJs, security, rentals, bar services, catering, decor and casual labour - are just some of the linked sectors that will have no income from this event for the first time in 11 years.
Dreamers have welcomed the news and the sentiment seems to be 'see you next year'.
"The reality of COVID-19 is very real, and we as the organisers really cannot do much about it, so thankfully people understand. We and the patrons want Dream Weekend to happen equally as much. So if we are postponing for our collective safety, people generally understand that now," Bankay said.
Dream Weekend's 'no refund' policy remains in force, and, according to the statement, all tickets purchased will be automatically valid for the new dates. However, name changes and ticket transfers will be facilitated free of cost to all ticket holders.
Dream Weekend continues the trend of postponement and cancellations of major events since COVID-19 reached Jamaican shores.
The popular Frenchmen series was cancelled, so too was BRT Weekend. Carnival has been rescheduled to October, and the annual Reggae Sumfest and the getting-ready-to-return Reggae Sunsplash festivals now both have 2021 dates.