And the JITG winners are…
Amanda Curling had a tough decision to make. She won a complete package for two to this weekend’s Jazz In The Gardens (JITG) Music Festival, inclusive of concert tickets, airfare, hotel accommodations and a vehicle rental – she just had to decide which of her five sisters she would take with her. In the final analysis, she decided to extend the treat to her sister Avilda Curling.
Curling was just one of a number of lucky winners that will be taking in the 14th JITG this weekend free of charge, courtesy of The Nassau Guardian and Star Hits 106 FM as well as Bahamasair in the City of Miami Gardens at the Hard Rock Stadium.
This will be Curling’s first JITG experience. For her, Lionel Richie, who festival producers say was one of the top-requested artists from social media, was the draw for wanting to attend this year’s music festival.
“I wanted to go last year, but due to family issues I couldn’t, so I decided to enter the [free] entry to try to win. This was my first year putting an entry in.”
This was her year.
Curling put in 14 entries, between clipping the form out of The Nassau Guardian and entering via WhatsApp.
“When they called my name, I was just so happy. I was glad to know that I was going,” she said.
On the day she was announced as the winner, she was undecided about who would accompany her on the all-expense-paid weekend, but by yesterday she had decided on one of her sisters.
Unlike Curling, Gina Scavella, who also won a complete package, isn’t a novice to the JITG experience. She has been twice before, taking in Usher and Jeffrey Osborne. But with the announcement of the O’Jays in the lineup, she knew she had to go.
“I love the Jazz In The Gardens experience. I love the old school feel. You go there, you’re relaxed. You don’t have to worry about anything. I like how everybody gels together. It’s just a really good environment,” she said.
Like Curling, though, this was Scavella’s first time putting in her name to try to win the all-inclusive trip that includes reserve concert tickets, Bahamasair tickets, hotel accommodation at Comfort Suites Sawgrass or Hotel Indigo, as well as a vehicle with Hertz Dollar Thrifty – and she was lucky to come up big when her name was pulled.
She planned to take her best friend, Debbie Symonette, for the JITG weekend experience.
While Rory Major did not win a complete package, he knew his wife, Viola Major, loves Lionel Richie, and he planned to take her, so when he heard the announcement on Star 106 Hits FM that anyone walking into Bahamasair’s Oakes Field station to purchase tickets to Fort Lauderdale or Miami for that weekend could be given a pair of general admission tickets to the concert, he did just that.
“I had plans to take my wife to Jazz In The Gardens. When I heard that on the radio I said I had to go to Bahamasair,” said Major.
He ended up walking away with even better seats, as he was upgraded to reserve seating, and also given a free rental car.
Major is no stranger to JITG, having gone by himself five years ago.
And then there’s Nicolett Archer, who went to one other JITG, where she got to see Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott and Kem. Of course she wanted to attend this year, given the lineup, but had her hopes dashed when she did not hear her name called during the official drawing last week Friday.
Archer, who said she puts her name into the drawing every year in hopes that she would be a winner, received a call from Good Mornin’ Dis Mornin’ show hosts Tony Williams and Greg Lampkin just yesterday asking her what she wanted to do this weekend. She recognized their voices.
“I said I prayed to God and begged him to send me to Jazz In The Gardens,” she said. The entire lineup holds an attraction for her.
Williams and Lampkin told her they had looked in their goodie bag and found some goodies for her. They gave Archer airline tickets for two and reserve seats for the music festival.
“I was over the moon,” said Archer.
She will take her daughter, Peta Archer with her.
This year’s winners will be taking in arguably one of the best lineups in the history of the music festival which will again be hosted by Rickey Smiley.
Joining Lionel Richie this year will be Brandy, Teddy Riley and Friends featuring Blackstreet, Bobby Brown, Doug E. Fresh, En Vogue, Jagged Edge, Stephanie Mills, Black Violin, Bigg D & Da Band, Stephanie Mills, the O’Jays, Tye Tribbett, Nelson Rangell, Chieli Minucci, Maysa, Gerald Veasley, Lao Tizer, Betty Wright and Sherronda Daye & Friends.
American hip-hop group the Sugarhill Gang jumpstarts the weekend at the opening night party tonight at the Hyundai Club at the Hard Rock Stadium at 8 p.m.
Tony Williams, Star 106 Hits programming director, has described this year’s JITG as one for people who love “real” music – music they can understand the lyrics to.
Williams, who will be making his 13th JITG appearance, and who in the past has been invited onto the JITG stage to announce acts, said he, too, is excited to see Lionel Richie live, along with the remainder of the lineup.
“Every year we say ‘How are they going to top this year’… But this year they topped it. Everyone who loves old school music will love the artists on this year’s line-up. We’ve got folks like Teddy Riley, who was popular back in the 90s, so those folks who grew up with that music will definitely love this year. There’s also En Vogue, Doug E. Fresh… Stephanie Mills, who will just be awesome, and Lionel headlines Sunday night. They keep getting better and keep topping the previous year. We always say ‘How are they going to do it?’ and they always come through,” said Williams.
Woodrow “Woody” Wilson, Bahamasair senior consultant of sales and marketing, said JITG is normally the highlight of his year.
He said the partnership between The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits and Bahamasair for this event continues to be phenomenal, as they’ve seen hundreds of people travel on the airline for the JITG weekend.
Wilson, too, was looking forward to taking in Lionel Richie’s performance as well as Doug E. Fresh.
“I remember one year early on meeting him (Doug E. Fresh). He wasn’t in the lineup that year, but he came out and did an impromptu [performance] that set the crowd on fire, so I’m really looking forward to seeing him as a part of the act,” he said.
The JITG tickets were the hottest giveaway in town with a Bahamian reaching out from as far away as Canada to get their name into the pot for the drawing, hoping to be one of the lucky winners to take in the music experience in the City of Miami Gardens absolutely free, courtesy of The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits FM.
Outside the concerts and party, the third annual FMAC (Film.Music.Art.Culture) — where business meets art, meets the community — as well as the eighth annual Women’s Impact Luncheon and the third JITG Poetry Contest with a $10,000 first prize, will take place, .