The process of bringing a live music concert to Grand Cayman is a lot more difficult than you think. From securing world-famous talent to addressing infrastructure and traffic concerns, it takes a whole team of talented and determined individuals to make it happen. It also takes one very determined visionary to see that despite any roadblocks, an amazing music and art experience is not only possible but destined to be a huge success.
Tell us about your company.
Virgin Produced was formed by Sir Richard Branson, Justin Berfield and me in 2009, with a focus on the production of quality entertainment products reflective of the Virgin brand sensibilities. We aimed to develop and produce high-quality Hollywood movies, television series, short-form/live entertainment/branded content and market those products in unique ways.
What motivated you to bring KAABOO to the Cayman Islands?
As we looked to grow the KAABOO experience outside of Southern California, I introduced my team to Cayman three years ago. As well as being a second home for me, Cayman has always been a destination known for its welcoming and friendly “Caymankind” hospitality. With that shared sensibility around guest service and hospitality, KAABOO in Cayman just made perfect sense. Following KAABOO’s introduction to the destination, we partnered with Dart [Real Estate] and started to develop our purpose-built site.
How do you feel now that the first event is over and was such a huge success?
Inspired! I’m incredibly grateful to the community for trusting in the brand and the experience we were confident we could deliver. I’m inspired for the future growth of the event and for what will hopefully become a foundation for others to invest in the country. There is so much talent in Cayman, including but not limited to musicians, artists and a highly skilled labour force. I’m so very proud of Cayman. We did this together!
What were the artists’ reactions when you approached them to appear in Cayman?
I don’t think we had an artist who didn’t want to either come a day early or stay a little longer. Most artists occupied their off time by really taking in all that Cayman had to offer. It was really fun to showcase Cayman to a very influential international audience.
What was your favourite part?
It would have to be the feeling I had Friday night as I watched the sun going down over Seven Mile Beach whilst 10,000 [people] were buzzing about. At that exact moment, I looked over and saw Sir Richard Branson put his arm around Ken Dart. Seeing both of their smiles was confirmation that our collective dream of building something truly special for Cayman had come to life.
What were the biggest obstacles that you had to overcome?
Ensuring that we were educated on our logistic, parking and transportation plans for the weekend. Although we hosted the largest live entertainment event (to date) in Cayman, not every resident of the Cayman Islands attended. That said, it was important to us that we were equally respectful to those who didn’t wish to attend KAABOO. So careful attention to traffic planning, neighbouring noise mitigation and community outreach was paramount for us. I believe we [succeeded] on all fronts.
What are your plans for KAABOO 2020? Will the process be easier?
Although the experience will continue to be multisensory, every KAABOO will vary slightly in its programming. This is how we will continue to keep the experience fresh and exciting. We are currently making offers to artists for 2020 and look forward to hosting another incredible weekend. I don’t expect the process to get any easier, but I do trust that a guest or prospective guest will now feel confident on the product that will be delivered.