Reggae Sumfest boss Joe Bogdanovich, chairman and CEO of Downsound Entertainment (DSE), producers of the iconic Jamaican music festival, has landed a partnership with global payments giant Mastercard.
“The initiative with Mastercard is one which will see us taking the first step towards a cashless festival,” Bogdanovich told the Jamaica Observer.
“Mastercard is a leading global payments and technology company and with its ongoing help, we will continue to take Reggae Sumfest into the technological age,” he added.
This is the second partnership agreement with an international company announced by Bogdanovich since the recent launch of the festival, scheduled for July 15-21 this year at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay.
Last week, he announced that North American carrier JetBlue Airways had been confirmed as one of the premium sponsors of Reggae Sumfest 2018.
According to Bogdanovich, DSE, which acquired the Sumfest Brand in 2016, welcomed the addition of JetBlue to the raft of sponsors.
“The fact that JetBlue, an overseas-based company, recognises the value of the Reggae Sumfest brand on the global scene, clearly demonstrates its growth in influence and importance over its history,” he said.
Sepp Donahower, director, global marketing for DSE, pointed out that JetBlue is the official and exclusive airline partner for Reggae Sumfest 2018, and would be the presenting sponsor for the live stream of the festival on all DSE platforms.
Since the acquisition of Reggae Sumfest, DSE has been engaged in bringing world-class high production live streaming and video content of the festival to the world on multiple platforms.
In 2017, Reggae Sumfest’s live stream and uploaded videos recorded more than 1,250,000 views. This year, it is expected to continue this explosive streaming and viewing growth, which brought JetBlue in as a presenting partner for the stream.
Fans will be able to access the live stream through the live streaming page on the festival website reggaesumfest.com, even though, as Bogdanovich pointed out, “there is nothing that can replace the energy and excitement of being at Catherine Hall live”.
JetBlue is New York’s hometown airline and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. The airline carries more than 40 million passengers a year to 102 cities in the US, Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights.
“We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve in the past two years. We built on the firm foundation laid by the Summerfest team, and it is our intention to grow the festival further. In keeping with that objective, we are offering patrons more and more each year,” Bogdanovich said.
“The use of credit, debit, and prepaid cards and other types of cashless payment options provide a safer and more convenient way for people to shop, and we are pleased to be able to introduce some of these options for Reggae Sumfest,” he said.
“While this year we are offering the more traditional payment options, we look forward to working with Mastercard, which we hope to be our long-term partner, to introduce many more innovative technological solutions to Reggae Sumfest in the years to come,” he stated.
Uhriel Bedoya, Mastercard country manager, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda, and Haiti, said his company was very excited to partner with Sumfest and to expand the benefits of electronic payments to patrons.
“With extensive experience in supporting the growth of payments, Mastercard is uniquely positioned to provide the platform that can propel Sumfest along increasingly ambitious growth paths,” he added.
He said that one of the major thrusts for Mastercard’s relationship with the festival this year is to offer a 20 per cent discount on tickets for the main festival, on July 20 and 21, when customers pay with a Mastercard branded prepaid or credit card. Additionally, with the Mastercard Fast Lane Entry to the event, Mastercard cardholders can skip the general admission line.
What is more, when concertgoers purchase their tickets with their Mastercard, they will gain entry to an exclusive Mastercard parking area. If the parking reaches maximum capacity, the Mastercard card will give you access to the Mastercard shuttle service.
This year Sumfest will also be introducing another new element into the mix — the Sumfest Mall, which will showcase a variety of authentic Jamaican products for sale.
Marcia McDonnough, Sumfest marketing consultant, said that the producers are very excited about the Sumfest Mall, as it will further enhance the festival experience by offering up to 24 curio shops with a delightful array of fascinating objects of art, craft, jewellery, clothing, leisure products and souvenirs that will serve as mementoes of patrons’ visit to Reggae Sumfest.
“We have carefully selected our merchants to make sure we present top-class items which for the most part are original works and also Jamaican-made. The relationship with Mastercard and the focus on ensuring that we have the equipment that will accept credit and debit cards all across the venue will make it easy for patrons to ensure they leave the festival with something special,” she noted.