Hamptons jazz festival to learn from past mistakes
ICON: Billy Ocean is making his Botswana bow (CR: Celebrity Radio)

After a year hiatus following a disappointing 2016 show, the Hamptons Jazz Festival will make its long-awaited return in March.

The fifth instalment of the music fest will come at a cost of P3.5million, with R&B legend Billy Ocean confirmed as the headline act.

The 68-year-old mega star will be performing in the country for the first time, which is a huge coup for the Hamptons Festival.

Talking to Voice Entertainment this week, one of the show’s organisers, Debbie Smith vowed to improve on the failures of the previous festival, which was besieged with problems.

Back then organisers were unprepared for the huge numbers that turned up and the commotion they caused.

The event drew widespread complaints of congested traffic, inadequate security, poor sound and late performances.

“The truth is we really did not put out the best show back in 2016. This time around we have increased our budget because we want to get everything right,” stressed Smith, adding sponsors for this year’s event would be announced mid February.

In order to ensure the show runs more smoothly, Smith explained the number of tickets available has been reduced from 12, 500 to 8, 500.

Those that do attend can look forward to a star-studded line up that, as well as Ocean, includes Zahara, Salif Keita, Amanda Black, Budhazza, Nathi, Thabang Garogwe, Ndingo Johwa, Nnunu Ramogotsi and ATI to mention just a few.

“We want the hamptonnets to have a better experience of the festival. We will even have Billy Ocean performing a bit earlier in the day, and the more vibier artists will perform later in the night so that those who want to retire back home can do so whenever,” continued Smith.

One of the jazz festival’s unique selling points is that it appeals to music lovers of all ages, as Smith readily highlighted, saying, “With this show, as much as it is to place Gaborone and Botswana on the spotlight when it comes to entertainment, we also pride ourselves by being the only show which caters for the older market.

“One of my humble moments actually came this week when an 89-year-old woman came to buy the ticket. She said that she wanted to see Billy Ocean and that she heard he is coming and she could not resist,” Smith recounted with a smile.

The Hamptons Jazz Festival will be staged on March 24 at the Duma Grounds.

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