House Music is set to descend on the Carribean in March with the launch of a brand new all inclusive festival in Negril, Jamaica. We chat to organiser DJ liL Ray about his exciting plans to bring some of the biggest names in House Music to the island for some unforgettable days and nights…
A huge welcome to DMCWORLD liL Ray, where on planet earth are you today?
Hey DMCWORLD! I am currently in Brooklyn, NYC.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
Currently loving the sounds that is coming from DJ Spen & Quantize Recordings, as well as anything from Manoo. I was also privy to an early listen to Timmy Regisford’s upcoming album and it is pure fire!!
You’ve been promoting parties in New York for many years, so what gave your the idea of launching a housemusic festival in Jamaica?
I go on vacation in the Caribbean quite a lot and every time I am there, I always said these were the perfect settings for a house music week of partying. Negril lends itself to the perfect location with its picture perfect 7 mile beach, crystal clear ocean water, some of the very best all-inclusive resorts and some of the most wonderful and IRIE people in the world. As for the Festival site, for the day time parties we will build the very best main stage, equipped with top quality sound that these quality DJs are accustomed to, with beach access. At night, there will be various locations also equipped with the very best sounds. We will also have daily Catamaran parties leaving from each resort that will feature different DJs. There will also be many other surprises that we have planned.
How are things going with setting it all up and what have been the biggest challenges so far?
I have to say, it has been stressful but very exciting. It helps to have a dynamic and professional team that make sure we are attentive to every detail. The biggest challenge thus far has been getting the message out that this is not just about “a stay at a hotel room” or a regular festival, but a one of a kind all-inclusive, pay one price, vacation experience. It is something most who attend music festivals and other conference type events cannot grasp. What we are offering is a chance to be pampered for a week as soon as you land in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Just get there, then put away your wallet and Jamaica Frenzy I’ll take care of the rest. Because we want all to enjoy the full 5 star treatment, we are not offering “events only” packages. We want to make sure all who attend, get the full EXPERIENCE that Jamaica Frenzy will offer.
Jamaica Frenzy is on at the same dates as WMC, was that a conscious decision to focus away from the annual South Beach shenanigans?
Well, I knew I wanted to have Jamaica Frenzy in the Spring time, and at least after the start of March and before May, because by that time, we in the Northern Hemisphere all over the world are tired of the winter by then and NEED a break. The traveling high season in Jamaica ends at the end of March, and the last week of March was the only time open to us. Even though I love the shenanigans of South Beach, I love that Jamaica Frenzy will be on the same dates since it will give this lovely scene of ours more options to the party patron. I am a firm believer that competition strengthen us all.
What’s the music policy for Jamaica Frenzy and the idea behind the brand?
The very best house music by the very best DJs and performing artist in the world is the policy and will always be the policy. The idea behind the brand Jamaica Frenzy is to offer the highest quality DJs and performing artist, mix with top quality, 5 star all-inclusive resort quality experience. The very best music mix with the very best vacation.
Who are the headliners and what has been their response to the launch of the new event?
The response from the DJs have been tremendous with the consensus being that this kind of all-inclusive festival in a setting as gorgeous as Negril, Jamaica has been long overdue and very necessary at this time. I believe all my DJs are headliners and were chosen because they all can hold their own at rocking a crowd and putting them in a Frenzy!! The djs are Body & Soul (Joe Claussell, Danny Krivit & Francois K), The Ritual with Anané & Louie Vega (below)…
…Timmy Regisford, David Morales, DJ Spinna, Manoo, David Harness, DJ Spen (below), Karizma, Gigi Testa, Ultra Nate, Jamie 3:26, Mark Francis, Kai Alce, Salah Ananse, Kemit, Beloved, DEL from Philly, Donna Edwards, Dj Ameer, Tommie Allen…
Will there be any live acts on the bill?
We are still working on the lineup and live acts will be part of the plan and we will be announcing them very soon.
How many people does the festival hold?
For this inaugural Jamaica Frenzy we are going to limit the number to 1000 – 1500 people so we can pay attention to detail and make sure the service received by each and every one of our guests will be of a very high quality. As the years go on, we will increase this number, but we are more concerned with QUALITY more than quantity.
Aside of the music and dancing what are the top 5 things to do and see in and around Negril?
The beauty of Negril is that you will have a wonderful time either doing many things or doing absolutely nothing. The top five things to do, and not in particular order:
1.Sitting on the beach or sitting at Rick’s Café and watching the sunset. It is the best part of the island of Jamaica to watch the most gorgeous sunset in the world….with a cold Red Stripe (or 3) of course.
2.Taking a trip to Mayfield Falls…it consists of 2 beautiful waterfalls, 21 natural pools, 52 types of ferns and lots of exotic flowers, plant species, birds, butterflies and wildlife native to Jamaica. Approximately one hour from Negril.
3. Meeting and talking with the people of Jamaica.
4. Scuba diving and snorkeling.
5. Walk along the 7 mile beach…
Finally, what are your top 3 Jamaican cocktails?
1. Jamaican Rum Punch with J. Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum…no other rum will do.
2. The Bob Marley.
3. An ice cold Red Stripe…for some reason it just tastes better in Jamaica.
Jamaica Frenzy Festival will take place in Negril, Jamaica from March 26-31 2019