YAASSSSSS I just got home from this event and I have to say, to my 90’s babies, it felt like PIer One cooler fete mixed with Boy Scounts all over again! I just made a count, I have been Carnivaling since 1999/1998, that’s a LONNNNNNNNNNNGGGG time.
That being said, our promoters need to do a better job of getting us into the venue, the CHAOS outside made the event itself feel like it was organised by amateurs, which I know not to be the case.
But it was FANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTICCCC!
So let me give you guys the back story ,if you guys know me by now, you know that I am insanely organised most days, so it should come as no shock that I send out the SOS for the tickets for this fete since December, YUP DECEMBER!
So much that when my feature Creatives in Carnival came around, I had enough BALLS to ask the event organizer for an interview, we had been speaking so much via whatsapp, I said why not…..
The timing and date was another drama but we GOT it!
I’m super excited to give you guys the ins and outs of JAM NAKED!
TM: Jam Naked, when did it start, when did it evolve?
DIG: It initially started off as a boat ride on the Treasure Queen in 2011, the same year as the SOE. We had gone down to Gasparee Islands during the curfew time and from since then the event grew. We did a boat ride after called “Sailed Naked” and then turned it into “AM Naked” which was the first time we actually did it for Carnival. So it grew from being small into the massive event it is now. This could be our 6th year with the name and that has evolved as well since we have changed the name from JAM Naked to JAM Nation. Some people may have found the name to be a bit raunchy, so we changed the name from “AM Naked” to “JAM Naked” and now “JAM Nation.” The name change basically came about by us looking down the road, its Carnival time, Trinidadians love to wine and jam, it’s a nation festivity and that’s how the name was coined.
TM: How many people form Dignitaries?
DIG: 5 persons plus myself so 6 in total.
TM: And are you the mastermind?
As a group we really don’t have a mastermind because everybody adds, subtracts and basically forms what Dignitaries is. We have someone who does all the concepts. He always says that he gets his visions in the bathroom, and then he would come in the group and say he just got a vision. He may have a meeting and throw out the ideas and then we would soak it in. Somebody would add something to it then someone else would add something and somebody would tweak it. So we would have somebody who comes up with the idea then everyone will add to it to come up with a final product.
TM: How do you manage a huge event like JAM Nation?
DIG: Management of the event comes from the group. The key to it is that we understand each other and we communicate alot. Dealing with events everybody has their own aura. You may tell somebody something and they may not take it too lightly but with our team we don’t have that problem. Everybody knows that they may get a bit of an attitude but it’s not really meant to be an attitude towards them. That person probably just had a lot to deal with on that day and there might have been hiccups and he expected you to deal with that and not having to remind you. Our management team does everything ourselves because we prefer to be hands on and know what is going on with our events. It’s a lot of work form the promotions side of it, the production side of it, security and ticketing. What we do as a group/company is what we enjoy and that is putting on events for the public. Yes it’s an event that would make a profit but profit making is not our main goal. It’s always about trying to find out what the public wants. We always try to do our background research after the event. We go to patrons and get their feedback.
TM: How do you go about doing that research?
DIG: Word of mouth. Its 5 of us so we have different clientele. We ask patrons what they thought of the event, what they heard, what their friend said, what persons said while walking in, and while in the toilet. We take feedback from the venue owners, from our vendors and suppliers because they are in the event and they may see something that we didn’t see. Any feedback whether negative or positive is always good for us and we will always try our best to see how best we could facilitate all the patrons. ( YEAH I HAVE PLENTY TO SAY TO YOU GUYS ABOUT THIS)
TM: Is the team of mixed gender or all male?
Its male oriented. We do have one female and the rest male. She is an integral part of the team and she helps keep us focused on the matter at hand.
TM: Now the event promotes itself, but from the beginning, what was done to promote it?
DIG: At the beginning because of the name “Naked: that alone sold the event, as they say sex sells, so when you someone hears an event with the word “Naked” they want to know what the party is about, they become interested, they are all ears and they attend. Some of the females, their outfits would obviously match the concept, so they would not come out naked but they may wear very revealing outfits and once that’s happening the guys antennas are up, they come and they enjoy themselves. From then, the party evolved to now where we changed the name and people are still referring to the party as JAM Naked and that’s ok because we know what they are talking about. ( BOYYYY LOOOK AT PEOPLEEEEEEEEEE)
TM: What do you think of your group’s entry in to the Carnival Season?
DIG: It was tough. In previous years we have had to move the dates for various reasons. One of those reasons was at the time; we were a small fete so we didn’t want to go too late down into the Carnival season where everything else was already cemented. Getting a preferred venue was another issue. The venue we wanted had another event on our preferred date. He was already cemented into the Carnival at that venue so when we approached them, with us being smaller at that point in time, they gave preference to the other promoter. So we had to move the venue. One year we moved to Pier 1. The eye opener for us that year was it was the second year we had Machel Montano performing and we had it right in between RAMA, which was the Saturday before Carnival and Machel Monday. Surprisingly, people still came even though it was between two major events. From there we moved back to 02Park (our preferred venue) and we changed the name from “AM Naked” to “JAM Naked.” What we did was basically put a J in front of the AM which incorporated the Jouvert elements which is water, paint and powder. From then we have been cemented in the Carnival season. (YUP THE OUTFITS WERE …. DEFINITELY NAKED….LADIES I LOVE IT!!!!!)
TM: What has the turnout been over the last couple years?
DIG: The numbers vary from 3500-4500. We are not interested in maximizing our numbers since we are not focused on making a profit.(Hmmmmm…..Papur, I think there was much more people eh and the numbers needed to be crunched as to make the patrons life easier)
We try to contain the crowd. We try to keep it close knitted because at the end of the day seeing how the country is, we don’t want that negative element at our event. We try to make sure that if someone contacts a committee member for a ticket, whoever contacted that person for tickets would be a close friend. So even if something does happen at the event, we would be able to talk to the person who contacted us and they in turn could talk to that person and it could be resolved. It’s very tough though, because once you have an event with numbers grossing over 2500 it becomes very hard to know everybody in the party or be able to have a connection to them. I also think that the people who come to our event basically come to enjoy themselves; they don’t really come with any other premise. They come to JAM, they come to enjoy themselves with their friends. Some of them come with big families and crews. I don’t think we are ever going to go into the RAMA and the Army Fete numbers just because of that factor.
TM: What about JAM Barbados and JAM Jamaica?
DIG: It has been on our radar for a while. We have been doing extensive research on it and probably if not this year definitely next year we will try to take the JAM Nation brand to the other islands. We would even try to delve into New York and Miami Carnival but we still have some logistics to figure out. It’s a work in progress but definitely we are trying to take the JAM worldwide. As the name says JAM Nation so you can JAM as a nation in Barbados, Jamaica or Grenada. (JAMMMMMMMM, JAMMMMM, JAMAICA SOUNDING LIKE A SCENE)
TM: A 19 year old who has just finished school, wants to be a promoter what do you tell them?
DIG: I will tell them its alot of hard work. It’s dedication. Youcan be easily distracted because society has it that promoters, male promoters, run down girls. Focus on what you really intend to do. Some promoters deal with stuff differently but once you have a team and you and your team are in the same head space you should not have a problem. We have had alot of stumbles along the way, guys were a part of the team and left for different reasons but the team just kept on going and that is the most important thing. Not what happens but how you deal with it. As a young entrepreneur coming into the promotional game, I would advise them to do the background work, meaning, it will take alot of time because you would have to go to a lot of events to see what people like, what people don’t like, how a venue is set up, how different things are done. It is alot of work. You won’t just go out there and do an event. You also have to build a clientele. If I go to an event, especially if I know the promoter, I won’t feel good knowing that it’s only 50 people because I know the kind of money one has to put out to get an event done. I would consider the person probably had to borrow the money from somebody and now they have to pay back that person and that in itself could cause a bacchanal if the next month you can’t pay back.
TM: Have you ever been through that scenario?
DIG: No, thank God. Now there are events where we made a loss but again that is part of promotions. JAM is one of our signature events, but we did other small events. We had an event called Privacy, we have an event in May called Friends and we tweaked it so this year we are calling it Mayfair because that takes us back to when Fatima had their Mayfair. These events were held at different locations Like Fort George and Couva so we try to move around our events. Sometimes we would take up on a Sunday and go driving because somebody might tell us that they saw a nice venue somewhere. It could be up in the bush, we try to find venues with different types of ambiance for people to come to party. What we realize at times is that you put out so much for the small events and not much people will attend so you may break even or you may lose. Then everyone asks the question “when is JAM, ah coming JAM fuh sure.” To the point now where we have two “JAMS” in one Carnival. We have “JAM Nation” on the 19th and this is our first year doing “JAM Junction” on the 25th (Carnival Saturday morning). A lot of people asked us why we were having two “JAMS” and my question to them is “What do you do on Carnival Saturday morning.” The majority of the people in our demographic have grown apart from Soca Monarch so they don’t do anything on a Friday and most of them when I ask them that question are like “well I don’t really do anything.” So we found something for them to do. Again doing a bit of research to find out what people want and what it has. Although it may have one or two breakfast parties they only cater for so much so we are giving them an additional option of something to do.
TM: How do you deal with all the rest of promoters on the sphere? Caesars Army, Scorch, Sunny Side Up, Insomnia, Fall Out.
DIG: In the promotional game you have to establish yourself, you have to stamp your claim and that comes over years. When you do stamp you claim then your event would always be at the top of other promoters minds as to not have their event on that same day. If you are a promoter and I am a promoter I would obviously try to maximize my profits. If I know your event is on this day, I would look at it as splitting my crowd if I go on that same day as well. So if you are accustomed to getting a 5000 crowd and I say I am going to do an event the same day as you, you may get 4000 and I may get 2500 and for a promoter that doesn’t make sense. It is best if you go get your 5000 and I go with another day and get my 5000. Some promoters don’t look at it that way but I think that is the most common sense thing to do based on figures and based on logic.
TM: Is there a promoter place, where do you guys hang out?
DIG: Not really. We may go to a place and they may be there at the same time, we know some of the promoters and we may have interactions with some and others we may not. We are cordial hey wassup and that it. So no there is no promoter spot.
TM: So there is a lot of planning involved?
Yes we basically plan for Carnival next year as soon as this one is over. (Even more reason why the event should not have thousands of patrons stuck outside)
TM: I wonder why soca artistes don’t do that?
DIG: I think they do. I believe good soca artistes have alot of songs they are just probably confused which song to drop which year or when. They don’t want to release it too close to carnival because it won’t get enough air play but they don’t want to release it too early because it would be played out.
TM: And that’ why they say Carnival hurts us, because these international artistes drop their albums whenever it’s done, carnival or no carnival. So that’s why they say carnival hurts the artiste in that sense.
DIG: But then again Trinidad is basically the Mecca of Carnival of the world.
TM: But are we promoting it that way though.
DIG: We can look at it this way; everyone listens to the radio, different stations, if you do a survey on how much soca plays after Carnival and November it’s in the minority. We as people are not even promoting our own but if you go to the United States and you listen to their stations they play a lot of their rap music. If you go to Jamaica its only dancehall/reggae you would hear because that is what they promote, their stuff. Yes, we love reggae, we love dancehall and we have a lot of rap followers in Trinidad but if we need to push the soca. If the radio personnel used to play 25% soca they need to increase that to 50%. Not saying to get rid of the other genres but that way artistes may be compelled to release more tunes. Instead of having carnival fetes only for carnival you may see promoters throwing fetes in June. Why would you do a big fete in June unless you bringing Machel Montano? So we have it that soca is for Carnival alone so we hear soca from December to February.
SO THAT’S IT FOLKS!
I can go take a nap…..
Or reminisce about the naked men….
2018…. JAM NAKED! Me DEYA!!!
Wanna hang out?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
So we can get your social media slayed and layed!
With love and hustle