Tue | Aug 20, 2019

A ‘Toast’ to life, and Ja’s party climate

Published:Wednesday | June 12, 2019 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Patrons ‘fling’ their shoulder to the selections of Toast disc jockeys.
Patrons ‘fling’ their shoulder to the selections of Toast disc jockeys.

A dimly lit path leading to a garden filled with aromatic perennial flowers and picturesque water features welcomed guests into the Pavilion Garden (Hope Gardens) for an evening of frolic and reflection called Toast. It’s for good reason that the event organiser, Suzanne Hendricks, named her Sunday soirée such; it invited individuals to, in the words of reggae dynamo Koffee, “come in wid a force” and celebrate the blessings of life.

“That song, the words the artistes sing, resonates well with me and a lot of persons because it is a general toast to life, and being able to enjoy a new day, especially this past year where I have lost friends and family members, I wanted the event to be about that,” Hendricks told The Gleaner.

One of the best things about Toast was the venue, which, although it holds natural ambience, was decked with radiant glass chandelier fixtures throughout the entrance into the general party area and the VIP sky and deck cabanas. The gorgeous women of Barcode Jamaica were tasked with taking care of the guests as they filtered into the garden space – service that was deserving of praise.

Hendricks, a marketing officer by day, prides herself on producing authentic and creative concepts of epic proportions – and sponsors like First In Line Entertainment, Nescafé Gold Blend Coffee, Appleton Estate and 876 Spring Water ensured the party did not fall short of that value.

She shared: “In all honesty, I was uncertain what title or theme would be given to the party but it had to mean something deeper than the simple execution of an event. The energy was focused on providing a paramount atmosphere for friends and family to relax and have a good time.”

The high-spirited organiser emphasised that Jamaica’s party climate was being ruled by events emboldened by general celebration of life.

Party supporters like Jago Brown, director of Let’s Tour Jamaica, appreciated the fundamental theme of Toast. Brown said: “It was one of those settings to celebrate another year and it was of first-rate quality. The décor and venue were pleasurable and the music played by DJs Kurt Riley and Courtney although could have been better, spanned all the genres.”

The disc jockeys demonstrated solidarity as each assisted the other with juggling diverse musical playlists, hitting all the right notes with the hits of the ‘90s and early 2000s, especially dancehall tunes like RDX’s Everybody Dance and Pon De River Pon De Bank, which had all the patrons testing their skill at doing the dance moves, as well as more recent hits such as Good Ting Dem by Ding Dong featuring Popeye, Caution and Owna Lane by Teejay.

The celebratory mood did not dwindle to a low when the disc jockeys hinted the party would come to an end soon. Instead, at 11 p.m. guests exited the garden moving to the music as if the night was not about to draw to a close. Many left looking forward to the next staging of Hendricks’ soirée later this year with a new theme.