Ministers pay tribute to late entertainment entrepreneur Walt Crooks
Walt Crooks, a major figure in Montego Bay entertainment, died in the resort city last Friday at age 69.
No official cause of death has been announced.
The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange has expressed shock and sadness at the death of entertainment entrepreneur Walt Crooks.
“Walt Crooks was part of a special team that believed that Montego Bay as a tourist destination should benefit from high class entertainment. Even while there were major annual events that took the spotlight, he offered year-round entertainment at his club, Disco Inferno, and hosted almost all of the big names in reggae music as well as foreign acts. Disco Inferno helped to set the standard for night time club entertainment and also did very well as a live music venue," Minister Grange said.
Crooks was a founding director of Summerfest Promotions, who hosted Reggae Sumfest, a week-long festival to replace Reggae Sunsplash in Montego Bay 25 years ago.
"Walt was part of the team that started Reggae Sumfest and was very committed to its growth and development. I must pay tribute to him for his visionary approach to the music industry and his desire to see music evolve from just an art form into economic commodity that has benefitted so many people in Western Jamaica and beyond. He will be sorely missed,” Grange said.
The Trelawny-born Crooks was also closely associated with his alma mater, Cornwall College, in the 1960s. It was there that he earned the nickname Congo, for his fierce tackling as a footballer. Crooks owned the Disco Inferno club in the Coral Gardens area of Montego Bay. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was one of Jamaica's hippest venues, with several high-profile acts performing there.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett remembers Crooks for his bold undertaking in the establishment of Disco Inferno in Rose Hall.
“Walt Crooks stood out as a giant in the entertainment industry, going beyond the ordinary as he engaged top class international singers to perform at Disco Inferno,” said Bartlett.
“Walt was very passionate about his venture and this led him to successfully bring the internationally recognized Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens Pageant to Montego Bay, giving many young Jamaicans the opportunity to showcase their talents on stage and earning recognition,” he added.
Expressing condolences to Crooks’ family, Bartlett said the tourism industry and in particular the entertainment sector, mourn the loss of a true pioneer who was totally committed to the industry.