Fifteen years ago, Walter Elmore and St Lucia's director of tourism Allen Chastanet got together to discus the idea of staging a major music festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica's tourism capital. Within five months the idea became a reality and a three-day event featuring the biggest international stars, complemented by the lure of a Caribbean getaway was held in Montego Bay in Jamaica.
The inaugural event saw the participation of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers and George Benson. Since then, there have been five venue changes, but Elmore says the primary focus of the show - attracting tourists to Jamaica - is intact.
"It is held to help fill Jamaica accommodation options and stimulate the economy and I think we've accomplished that," Elmore said.
The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is held in late January. It is a time of year when tourist arrivals are usually down, following the traditionally bustling winter season.
This year alone Jazz and Blues event attracted over 20,000 patrons to the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, just outside the town of Falmouth.
Tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, commented on the importance of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival to the local leisure industry.
"It is a valued product that drives tourism in a slow period," Bartlett said. "Businesses get a decided boost, with as much as US$3 million in circulation over the three days."
The Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival was held three years after the St Lucia Jazz Festival. These shows have never catered to straight-ahead jazz lovers or blues purists, rather contemporary and classic rhythm and blues acts capable of drawing hip and mature audiences.
Elmore said booking high-profile acts has become less difficult in 14 years.
"Jamaica is an easy sell, they love coming here for the beach and the sites," he explained. "Of course, once their money is sure that makes things even easier."
During the festival, Jamaica rentals such as Silver Sands Jamaica are in great demand not just for their rates and services but also because of the proximity they offer to various venues where the festival is held.