When Reggae Sunsplash folded in Montego Bay after its 1992 staging, Italian newspaper publisher Steve Giant, a loyal fan of that festival, was left a disappointed man, as making the annual trek to Jamaica had become an integral part of his life.
However, Giant’s disappointment was short-lived as in 1995, he learnt that Reggae Sumfest had replaced Reggae Sunsplash on the Montego Bay entertainment calendar and since then, he has been travelling to Jamaica for the past 23 years to satisfy his passion for reggae music and his growing love for Jamaica.
“My first Reggae Sumfest experience was in 1995. Basically, it’s been 23 years without interruption,” said Giant.
Over the years, it has not only been Reggae Sumfest that has been pulling the big Italian, who also manages a radio station, the Radio Base Popolare Network, which broadcasts reggae from morning to evening.
“I love the music, the parties, the beach… the Jamaican way of life style. That’s why I come back every year,” said Giant.
“Unfortunately, there’s no reggae festival like Reggae Sumfest in Italy … we had a big one, but they moved it to Spain.”
Despite not having a major reggae festival in Italy, Giant says reggae is nonetheless quite big in his homeland. He sees his popular magazine, RASTA SNOB, which he has been producing for more than 30 years, as one of the vehicles driving the growth of the music.
While each new year at Reggae Sumfest gives giant fresh “emotions, sensations, vibrations,” there are some special memories that have not dimmed over time.
“Definitely Shabba Ranks arriving by helicopter,” said Giant, in reflecting on Shabba’s spectacular arrival by helicopter at the venue back in the 1990s. “I also enjoy the clash in music between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, and the many international artistes who have duet with the Jamaican top artistes.”
Like many fans of Reggae Sumfest, Giant is mightily impressive by this year’s star-studded line-up and has identified several acts he can’t wait to see.
“I am looking forward to seeing Damian Marley, Cham, Capleton, Sizzla, Assassin, Beres Hammond, Raging Fyah,” said Giant.
As Reggae Sumfest celebrates its 26th anniversary this year, the greatest and only reggae show in Jamaica has, again, opened its doors to Africa.
Reggae Sumfest’s CEO Joseph Bagdonovich, in his bid to unite through music, has extended an invitation to Ghana’s most popular dancehall artiste, Stonebwoy.
Bagdonovich has also made the streaming free for Africans to watch.
Stonebwoy, who is excited about his first-ever performance at Reggae Sumfest, posted a video of his rehearsal, saying, “It’s a dancehall night this Friday at Montego Bay. Come witness the fire.”
Ghanaians can join the global live stream of Reggae Sumfest on both Friday and Saturday via reggaesumfest.cleeng.com or www.ameyawdebrah.com.
Some patrons who attended the Sumfest “Colour-Fest” Beach Party at Tropical Bliss in Montego Bay, St James on Sunday, enjoyed the event from the vantage point of their cabanas.
The cabana concept, which was introduced to the 26-year-old Reggae Sumfest this year, allowed patrons to rent a cabana for the night. It not only offered a bird’s eye view of the activities, but also the added comfort of a beach bed.
Director of Reggae Sumfest, Robert Russell said the venue, Tropical Bliss, provided the perfect location for the introduction of the cabana concept.
He said patrons “warmed” to the idea which resulted in the cabanas being “sold out” in short order, once the gates to the venue were opened.
“We at Reggae Sumfest are always on a mission to improve the experience of our valued patrons and the Cabana concept presented us with an avenue to add luxury to the beach party. We obviously didn’t have enough Cabanas to rent, but the patrons who were lucky enough to secure one, were very happy,” Russell said.
“Looking ahead to next year and beyond, we will see how we can add more of these cabanas to the venue while taking into consideration that they will have to be tastefully designed and positioned.”
Meanwhile, patrons who had to be at the venue very early on Sunday in order to rent their cabana, were very pleased they did and commended the organizers of Sumfest for such a futuristic and patron-centred move.
“We are very pleased that we were able to get one of these wonderful cabanas to rent for this party. The world is moving in the direction of bringing luxury to parties and entertainment events and we are happy that Sumfest has joined the trend,” a patron, Michelle Jones said.
Sunday’s Sumfest “Colour-Fest” Beach party saw hundreds of fun-loving party-goers descending on the venue for the high-energy event which was hosted by the “Curvy Diva” Yanique Barrett and Noah Power and featured DJs Team Shella, Jigga and Crazy Neil.
Wed July 18, 2018
Thursday, July 12, 2018
On Sunday, July 8, Grace Kitchens in conjunction with Downsound Entertainment previewed some of the items that the brand will serve in the food hall at Reggae Sumfest between July 15 and 22. Executed by Christian Sweeney, executive chef, Fuzion Food Services, the menu showcased some of Grace’s best items. The Red Stripe bar was stocked with sorrel, lemon paradise, light and original Red Stripe beers; Grace coconut water, Tropical Rhythms, D&G sodas and Catherine’s Peak water.
Guests mingled in the courtyard of Downsound HQ while noshing on an array of fare. On offer was a selection of pasta, meat, fish and side dishes. There were Grace tuna and sweetcorn pasta, Grace jerk chicken pasta and Grace jerk veggie pasta. Sweet and spicy buffalo wings, jerk pan hot dogs and jerk stuffed whole snapper. Rounding out the meal were butter almond festivals and Scotch bonnet buttered sweet corn.
The pasta had an expertly made béchamel — it was creamy, had a mild jerk flavour and the veggies and the chicken were fresh and well-cooked. The hot dogs (marinated in jerk seasoning) were very appetising but would have been a sure knockout were the buns toasted or steamed. The wings were very yummy and Thursday Food broke all the rules of etiquette by licking its fingers; they were that good. The stuffed snapper, roasted whole in aluminium foil, was filled with fresh herbs, earthy callaloo and al dente carrots. However, it would have benefited from being served fresh off the grill as the butter began to congeal in the foil wrapper.
The corn was flavourful and slick with butter. And, just when you thought you’ve had every variation of festival there is, Chef Sweeney turns up with a buttered almond version. Nuanced with nutty flavour and perfectly fried, you’ll want the recipe.
As a parting gift, guests were given an insulated cup and a VIP pass that entitles them to unlimited soup and one full meal from Grace on any Sumfest night of their choosing.
This sneak peek of Grace’s Sumfest food offerings along with ice-cold Red Stripe was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Published:Saturday | July 14, 2018 | Stephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Its reputation for promoting talents is highly revered among the fraternity of emerging artistes despite the early placements and short performance time it offers.
According to emerging artist D’Yani, who is performing on Reggae Sumfest Reggae Night (night two), an opportunity, no matter how small is at the end of the day, a good opportunity.
“The platform is there to explore. As a young artiste, you must use, every minute to deliver a good solid set that will leave a lasting impact,” he told The Gleaner.
The Sad Story singer was recognised by the Reggae Sumfest team while performing on the Fame 95FM Road Party.
“The eight to 10 minutes up-and-coming artistes like myself have will still be a part of the broadcast to an international audience,” he said. “I honestly did not envision being on the stage when I attended in 2016 to see Barrington Levy on the stage.”
Dancehall singjay Kim Nain shared the same sentiment. “It is the beginning for another part of the musical journeys young artistes are taking,” she said.
Meanwhile, Imeru Tafari, 24-year-old son of Queen Ifrica and fast-rising reggae artiste, sees the stage show like any other event where he is given time to perform.
“It could be a Reggae Sumfest, Rebel Salute or smaller event – to me, it is about showing not only my talent, but most importantly, sharing the message of positivity and righteousness. For all the shows, it is the same,” he said.
Imeru Tafari is cognisant that he will only receive five minutes to perform his set but nonchalantly answered, “It’s not a big problem. Two song can still deliver in that time.” He says his true satisfaction comes from being able to share the lyrics.
“The Reggae Sumfest stage is definitely one that will expose me to bigger platforms being an international show, and I am hoping it brings me across the world,” he added.
“It is my second time performing. The first time, my mother called me on stage to perform with her. There I got the chance to sing Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley’s verse from their collaboration, Trueversation,” he recalled.
Other young reggae performers include Abatau (son of Tony Rebel), Naomi Cowan, and Stushie, and among the emerging dancehall acts Rygin King and Vanzo.
Reggae Sumfest returns to Catherine Hall Event Centre in Montego Bay, Jamaica with a heavy-hitting artist lineup featuring the world’s
top reggae and dancehall artists.
Can’t make it this year?
No problem, Mon….Join the party by viewing the Live Stream of
World Clash, plus two Main event nights.
3 great livestream events now for Reggae Sumfest:
~World Clash Thursday, July 19,
~Dancehall Night Friday, July 20
~Reggae Night Saturday, July 21
Check out Videos of World Clash Performers:
By overwhelming popular demand, a third free Live Stream has been added to Reggae Sumfest…The Irish & Chin World Clash 20th Anniversary Party and Celebration will be live streamed for free, as well. Fans will be able to sign up to watch on the Live Streaming page of website …It all starts 10 PM EST / Jamaica Time Thursday July 19.
Register today for Free at website