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Giving An Hour to Earth at Earth Hour Jamaica

May 13th, 2024

by Ruth-Ann Briscoe

This year, we need to be attending way more music festivals and events just because! The first stop so far was Earth Hour Ja, at Hope Gardens, Jamaica, which is an annual event hosted by the Esirom Foundation. Originally put on by the World Wildlife Fund, the purpose is to encourage people, communities and businesses to give an hour for the Earth.

With top headliners like the Grammy nominated Iotosh, Jamaica’s songbird Alaine, Reggae singers Etana and Warrior King, Earth Hour Ja 2024, was going to be an eventful one.

I also was introduced to two artists, Alexx A-Game (he portrayed Peter Tosh in the 2024 film, Bob Marley: One Love – however didn’t make the final cut) who focuses really well on sending positive messages in his music in a way that is refreshing for his generation. I’m keeping a close eye on him to see what next he is up to. Also, Indie Allen, the show’s opener, really gave soulful music and was a perfect start to the show.

Esorim Foundation has been facilitating the event for the past 10 years. With their “Bring Yuh Owna Tings” initiative, “Klean Kingston” initiative and other events, the Esirom Foundation has been putting their efforts mainly on: Environmental Protection & Conservation, Sustainable Consumption and Urban Planning in Jamaica.

At Earth Hour Ja 2024, the performers were a mix of new names and some experienced artists. With the setlist, the selected songs were on queue, some artists went the route of having selections on us as humans working together, little on the environment, freedom, and a general message of love. The family-friendly event had entertaining factors for everyone. With Jamaicans from different parts of the island and some non-locals, the diverse audience also added to showing the impact of events like this that brings us together. This is absolutely a must attend event for reggae lovers, those who grew up listening to reggae, developed an appreciation for the genre and its impact on our Jamaican culture.

With the dedicated hour to Earth, the biggest hour for earth was recognised by turning the lights  off for an hour. During this time, there was a live fire show, which I have never seen prior to this event. The talented Jamaican Fire Breather for over 14 years, Sheldon Donaldson, and his team of contortionists, delivered an unforgettable show. Based on just the audience’s reactions, this caught a lot of people off guard with how they just kept going and going. The musical selection during this performance was superb, including songs like Burn by Ellie Goulding and Turn Down for What by  DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

One of my favourites was the opener, Indie Allen. Attending his live show would be ideal as a date night with a partner or a girls’ night at a solo acoustic show. As it relates to the entire show, what really stood out was the appreciation some of the men (namely Indie Allen and Warrior King) had of their partners; it was a beautiful thing to witness, seeing their muse and how highly they spoke of them.

Alexx A-Game’s set was really a highlight because of his vulnerability in his music, the support he has and how he expresses his appreciation was memorable. He also brought on Sheldon Shepherd, who is always a welcoming face in the music space. He encouraged the audience to watch the Bob Marley: One Love movie, did a few freestyles with Alexx and it was inspiring seeing how much appreciation they had in sharing the moment together. Their comedic and entertaining friendship and set really resonated with the audience.  

Alaine’s two backup singers have amazing vocals. She gave both a moment to share their musical talents and it was notable that Alaine gave that opportunity to some music prodigies, especially since she expressed that similar opportunities got her to where she is today.

Unfortunately, one of the main headliners, Etana, who I was really looking forward to seeing perform live, was not able to physically attend because of flight issues. She sent an apology recording for the audience and sang a little of one of her songs in the intro.

In terms of the businesses/vendors that were at Earth Hour Ja, there were a lot of food booths including one of my favourites, Bad Dawg Sausages. I saw a lot of craft items which matched the earthy theme. They also had a digital form to sign up for free massages on-site!

In relation to partnerships from this event that were executed by the Esirom team, Uber gave $6 off using the Earth Hour coupon code, valid the night of the show to promote carpooling. They also had free water at the Esirom Foundation booths to cut back on single plastic use at the event, stemming from their Bring Yuh Owna Bottle initiative.

One critique of the entire experience is the entry process. It was free to get in; we had to use a QR code but once you left the premises temporarily, there was no way of proving you were already inside. For example, if you left your water bottle in your car and you wanted to go and come back, there was no way to prove that you were already in the venue and you’re not using someone else’s QR code, because according to their system, you’re already inside.

Secondly, at the end of the event there were a lot of plastic bottles and garbage on the premises and that could have been prevented if they didn’t allow vendors to sell plastic beverages since there was free water was at the event; the main water bottles littered on the ground were from vendor purchases. The team however succeeded in making eco-friendly reusable bamboo booths for the event with biodegradable or reusable decor etc.

For a feel good moment, the Esirom Foundation had a special presentation to an attendee who was the host for the first nine years of Earth Hour Ja. Since the beginning of Earth Hour Ja, Dr Terri Karelle-Reid hosted, and on the specific night they gave her a special gift, her favourite flower, the bougainvillaea that they planted. After presenting the flower, the team announced that they are going to start a bougainvillaea sculpture garden in her name at any location of her choosing, and provide maintenance, which was really keeping with the theme.

Let’s talk essentials to take if you plan on attending! Since the event is promoting less one-time plastic use, you have to take your reusable water bottles/cups. You might fancy some of the booths by the vendors and want to buy some craft items, local food or just some memorabilia as a lot of local businesses will be at the venue. Your phone may run out of charge since the gates open at about 4, so take your power bank with you. You’re gonna need a blanket and a foldable chair because why not?

With 2025 already fast approaching, I’m saving March 22, 2025 to attend Earth Hour Ja again!

Ruth-Ann Briscoe is a Jamaican entertainment journalist. With an interest in being a top Caribbean voice on the global stage, her genuine demeanour fosters trust and relatability, and results in meaningful interactions with her audience. When someone hears Ruth-Ann, they should feel relief, knowing that what she shares is going to brighten their day.

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by Ruth-Ann Briscoe

This year, we need to be attending way more music festivals and events just because! The first stop so far was Earth Hour Ja, at Hope Gardens, Jamaica, which is an annual event hosted by the Esirom Foundation. Originally put on by the World Wildlife Fund, the purpose is to encourage people, communities and businesses to give an hour for the Earth.

With top headliners like the Grammy nominated Iotosh, Jamaica’s songbird Alaine, Reggae singers Etana and Warrior King, Earth Hour Ja 2024, was going to be an eventful one.

I also was introduced to two artists, Alexx A-Game (he portrayed Peter Tosh in the 2024 film, Bob Marley: One Love – however didn’t make the final cut) who focuses really well on sending positive messages in his music in a way that is refreshing for his generation. I’m keeping a close eye on him to see what next he is up to. Also, Indie Allen, the show’s opener, really gave soulful music and was a perfect start to the show.

Esorim Foundation has been facilitating the event for the past 10 years. With their “Bring Yuh Owna Tings” initiative, “Klean Kingston” initiative and other events, the Esirom Foundation has been putting their efforts mainly on: Environmental Protection & Conservation, Sustainable Consumption and Urban Planning in Jamaica.

At Earth Hour Ja 2024, the performers were a mix of new names and some experienced artists. With the setlist, the selected songs were on queue, some artists went the route of having selections on us as humans working together, little on the environment, freedom, and a general message of love. The family-friendly event had entertaining factors for everyone. With Jamaicans from different parts of the island and some non-locals, the diverse audience also added to showing the impact of events like this that brings us together. This is absolutely a must attend event for reggae lovers, those who grew up listening to reggae, developed an appreciation for the genre and its impact on our Jamaican culture.

With the dedicated hour to Earth, the biggest hour for earth was recognised by turning the lights  off for an hour. During this time, there was a live fire show, which I have never seen prior to this event. The talented Jamaican Fire Breather for over 14 years, Sheldon Donaldson, and his team of contortionists, delivered an unforgettable show. Based on just the audience’s reactions, this caught a lot of people off guard with how they just kept going and going. The musical selection during this performance was superb, including songs like Burn by Ellie Goulding and Turn Down for What by  DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

One of my favourites was the opener, Indie Allen. Attending his live show would be ideal as a date night with a partner or a girls’ night at a solo acoustic show. As it relates to the entire show, what really stood out was the appreciation some of the men (namely Indie Allen and Warrior King) had of their partners; it was a beautiful thing to witness, seeing their muse and how highly they spoke of them.

Alexx A-Game’s set was really a highlight because of his vulnerability in his music, the support he has and how he expresses his appreciation was memorable. He also brought on Sheldon Shepherd, who is always a welcoming face in the music space. He encouraged the audience to watch the Bob Marley: One Love movie, did a few freestyles with Alexx and it was inspiring seeing how much appreciation they had in sharing the moment together. Their comedic and entertaining friendship and set really resonated with the audience.  

Alaine’s two backup singers have amazing vocals. She gave both a moment to share their musical talents and it was notable that Alaine gave that opportunity to some music prodigies, especially since she expressed that similar opportunities got her to where she is today.

Unfortunately, one of the main headliners, Etana, who I was really looking forward to seeing perform live, was not able to physically attend because of flight issues. She sent an apology recording for the audience and sang a little of one of her songs in the intro.

In terms of the businesses/vendors that were at Earth Hour Ja, there were a lot of food booths including one of my favourites, Bad Dawg Sausages. I saw a lot of craft items which matched the earthy theme. They also had a digital form to sign up for free massages on-site!

In relation to partnerships from this event that were executed by the Esirom team, Uber gave $6 off using the Earth Hour coupon code, valid the night of the show to promote carpooling. They also had free water at the Esirom Foundation booths to cut back on single plastic use at the event, stemming from their Bring Yuh Owna Bottle initiative.

One critique of the entire experience is the entry process. It was free to get in; we had to use a QR code but once you left the premises temporarily, there was no way of proving you were already inside. For example, if you left your water bottle in your car and you wanted to go and come back, there was no way to prove that you were already in the venue and you’re not using someone else’s QR code, because according to their system, you’re already inside.

Secondly, at the end of the event there were a lot of plastic bottles and garbage on the premises and that could have been prevented if they didn’t allow vendors to sell plastic beverages since there was free water was at the event; the main water bottles littered on the ground were from vendor purchases. The team however succeeded in making eco-friendly reusable bamboo booths for the event with biodegradable or reusable decor etc.

For a feel good moment, the Esirom Foundation had a special presentation to an attendee who was the host for the first nine years of Earth Hour Ja. Since the beginning of Earth Hour Ja, Dr Terri Karelle-Reid hosted, and on the specific night they gave her a special gift, her favourite flower, the bougainvillaea that they planted. After presenting the flower, the team announced that they are going to start a bougainvillaea sculpture garden in her name at any location of her choosing, and provide maintenance, which was really keeping with the theme.

Let’s talk essentials to take if you plan on attending! Since the event is promoting less one-time plastic use, you have to take your reusable water bottles/cups. You might fancy some of the booths by the vendors and want to buy some craft items, local food or just some memorabilia as a lot of local businesses will be at the venue. Your phone may run out of charge since the gates open at about 4, so take your power bank with you. You’re gonna need a blanket and a foldable chair because why not?

With 2025 already fast approaching, I’m saving March 22, 2025 to attend Earth Hour Ja again!

Ruth-Ann Briscoe is a Jamaican entertainment journalist. With an interest in being a top Caribbean voice on the global stage, her genuine demeanour fosters trust and relatability, and results in meaningful interactions with her audience. When someone hears Ruth-Ann, they should feel relief, knowing that what she shares is going to brighten their day.