A few changes are coming for this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest.
Bogdanovich and his team announced that at least three new events have been added to the roster; the physical capacity of the venue is being increased; parking is being improved; and patrons are being offered more of an experience through an improved food court and the addition of the Sumfest Mall.
“We are looking to increase the capacity this year. Last year we were pretty full and so we want to stay according to the demands of the fire department for safety. So we have ways of increasing the capacity. So I think we are going to have a really big crowd this year. We will reconfigure the food court. There will be improvement in the parking arrangements. We definitely want a lot of cars across the street. The ultra VIP experience was a hit last year, something new a lot of people didn’t know about it and those two sections on stage right and stage left. It is being extended and more people will be able to buy chairs on those two platforms. About 400 people will be able to get chairs on a platform,” said Bogdanovich.
Reggae Sumfest’s week of activities commences on Sunday, July 15 with the traditional Beach Party at Tropical Bliss Beach. The following day will see The Sumfest Street Jam at the old Hospital Park followed by the All-White party at Pier 1 on July 17. The events move to the Hard Rock Café for Sumfest Blitz on July 18.
Th first of the new events — Sumfest Inspire Awards — is a by-invitation-only event and will be staged on July 19 at the Iberostar Resort.
Marketing consultant Marcia McDonnough explained that this event will replace the traditional Sumfest press conference.
“Over the years we have staged a press conference, but over the years it has lost its sparkle. So this year we are doing the Sumfest Inspire Awards, a red-carpet-style awards with all the trappings at Iberostar. We are looking to having all kinds of awards related to reggae and music. We will have some press awards like the Golden Pen and Photo Guru as well as persons who have contributed to Reggae Sumfest over the years.”
July 20 will see the other new event, the Reggae Industry Symposium, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. While the details are still being pulled together, McDonnough said it will be of interest to a wide cross section of persons.
“On Friday morning we are going to have another new event which is the Sumfest Symposium. We have a lot of persons who come here and are interested in our music and our dance. So we have partnered with Dance Xpressionz who have a very nice track through the whole reggae experience. Nothing is written in stone, but we will have things that are interesting not only to students but to the general public,” she announced.
Later that evening, the festival’s first night of performances takes to the stage at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre. Night one — dancehall night — will also feature Sizzla, Popcaan, Aidonia, Spice, Ding Dong, Harry Toddler, Agent Sasco, Tommy Lee, Shane O, Ghanian Afro pop, dancehall and reggae artiste Stonebwoy and other acts.
Night two of the performances is being headlined by Beres Hammond, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley and Maxi Priest. Other acts to take the stage include Capleton, Cham, Fantan Mojah, American reggae act J Boog, Jesse Royal, and Raging Fyah.
The week concludes with another new event — the Sumfest Morning Medz — a tailgate cooler fete immediately after the performances. This event will be held at Dump-up Beach in the heart of Montego Bay.
— Richard Johnson