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New strategy for Reggae Sumfest

BY BALFORD HENRY  July 04, 2018

Twenty-three Jamaican-owned businesses will be showcasing authentic local products as the promoters of the annual event have decided to open up the facilities to them this year.

Chairman and CEO of promoters DownSound Entertainment Joe Bogdanovich told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that he thinks it is time to allow Jamaica’s small business sector to benefit from the opportunities for their growth and development created by the event.

“This initiative gives small businesses in Jamaica a platform to exhibit their products and work while promoting Brand Jamaica,” the entrepreneur said.

“This new addition to the festival will help to develop the tourism sector and is also beneficial to the overall economy. We look forward to continuing and expanding this project in the years to come,” he added.

Since acquiring the event from former owners Summerfest Productions, in April 2016, Bogdanovich has been promoting the idea that it is the country’s responsibility to develop and protect its cutural brand.

He promised major changes for the Sumfest brand in its first two years under his administration which would help to make the industry thrive. He said then that 2016 will be the transitional year, in which DownSound will be working closely with Johnny Gourzong, Robert Russell and Tina Davis, who have developed the brand for 25 years.

“It is critical that the home of reggae music gets its house in order. The theme of unity through music is a key factor for success in the festival business. Artists must understand and work together as well as the sponsors and government agencies to accept the fact that reggae/dancehall is a natural resource of the country, and that it’s the responsibility of the country for it to be developed and protected,” he insisted.

In the past, the most important questions about Sumfest were those about the acts, their performances, and who took the respective nights; however, with the changes being introduced by Bogdanovich, it is clear that he aims to shift the attention to the sustainability of the Jamaican culture’s dominance across the Caribbean.

According to Bogdanovich, with the wide variety of products being offered — from Bresheh with their handcrafted backpacks, handbags and totes, to Live Charcoal portraits done by Jeffperry Art — there is something for everyone.

Reggae Sumfest will be held July 15-22 in Montego Bay — currently under enhanced security measures slated to last until August 2 — and Bogdanovich remains confident that this year’s event will be an improvement on last year’s very successful 25th anniversary presentation.

Jamaica’s premier reggae festival, Reggae Sumfest is a week of parties and performances from some of the top names in reggae and dancehall.

Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Aidonia, Bounty Killer, Spice, Stonebwoy from Ghana, Capleton, Cham, and Maxi Priest are all among the star-studded line-up.

The week also includes a conference examining the state of the reggae industry.

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