Party Playas: Kerdyn Moe leads the Dignitariez
Kerdyn Moe, GM of Dignatirez, the group behind Jam Nation
Kerdyn Moe never thought of being an entrepreneur when he was younger but after studying business management while on a football scholarship in the United States, the idea intrigued him.
Back home from college in 2008, Moe and some friends got together to do a boat ride and he was hooked on events management. Today, that boat ride has evolved into one of the biggest events on the fete calendar: Jam Nation.
Moe, 33, is the Managing Director of Dignitariez, the business behind that the fete brand, which is owned equally by Moe and four of his friends.
“When I came back from college in 2008, I was fairly sociable, always interested in doing something. My friends from school and football days in Fatima college just decided to do an event so we did a boat ride in 2009 with about 60 to 80 people, then 'Down De Island' parties, which grew into an onshore event with some artistes and that grew into Jam Nation. It is the biggest brand we have,” he said.
Jam Nation actually started as Jam Naked but to attract sponsors, Moe changed the name.
The J’ouvert party has become known especially for what happens on stage. In 2018, Iwer George and Machel Montano buried the ax in their Road March war at the fete when Montano sang George’s ‘Savannah. The party is also a big draw for the top acts of the season.
Moe believes the patrons provide the real essence of the event.
“That is the event they go to free up themselves, leave all their troubles away. We never advertise who we have performing and every year we have major artists coming through, every year is a different cast. The paint, powder and water….people enjoy themselves. Is the mix of people in the event too, is a real, real, real mix,” he said.
The price, he said, is also a factor.
“It is real difficult to do an event in Trinidad now with the cost of stuff and we just don’t want to overprice just because the fete doing well. Our tickets start at $250 and we have group rates as well.”
Dignitariez, the promotional outfit behind Bunji Garlin’s Pree Dawn Carnival boat ride, is expanding in 2019, with a new rum inclusive fete called Wine on Rum Street. The February 10 cooler event, explained Moe, takes into account the difficult economic situation and people’s changing tastes as a result.
“If you come with your group of friends, three or more, we are giving you a full 750 ml bottle. We are bringing the concept of a street lined with bars into the event and we are partnering with White Oak. Because of the economy a lot of people are moving away from expensive tastes and going back to what they know,” he said of the rationale for the event.
Outside of T&T, Dignitariez has been trying to make its name in Jamaica, where they exported the Jam Nation brand in 2018.
The event wasn’t a sold-out affair but Moe is certain it will grow.
“We are going back to Jamaica and we are looking at a couple other territories. It was an eye-opener when we posted the event initially and (Vikings) Ding Dong called me after we posted the event and he said he is getting requests, we anticipated that we would get 200/300 people but before leaving for Jamaica we sold 1200 tickets. We didn’t team up with any Jamaican brands we just went and found a beach to have it. The suppliers are so economical, way better than Trinidad and least four times less,” he said.
Moe said in the future, they may get into other types of businesses like becoming a supplier that works with the average promoter.
“We still plan to be in entertainment but we are looking to branch out into other areas as well,” he said.
Outside of the entertainment scene, Moe, who coaches the Fatima Under-13 football team, is planning to open his own coaching school.
“I love the coaching, I love to work with kids. That is where my joy is,” he said.