Tag: MOntegoBay

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Reggae Sumfest Awaits Tommy Lee Sparta

Published:Wednesday | May 30, 2018 | Christopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer

Tommy Lee

WESTERN BUREAU:

With his release from police custody without charge yesterday, the way has now been paved for dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta to appear as one of the headline acts at the 2018 staging of Reggae Sumfest.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, shortly after St James Senior Parish Judge Sandria Wong-Small ordered Tommy Lee’s release, Joe Bogdanovich, CEO of Reggae Sumfest, said that he welcomed the news and is looking forward to a stellar performance by the artiste.

“Tommy Lee was booked for Sumfest two months ago, so, naturally, we are happy that he is now free to perform,” said Bogdanovich.

When quizzed as to what advice he would give Tommy Lee, who has been having regular run-ins with the police for the past three years, Bogdanovich, who also heads Downsound Records, had one, simple word of advice.

DEVELOP YOUR BRAND

“I would tell him to focus on his music, and leave the side issues alone,” said Bogdanovich, who intimated that if artistes paid more attention to developing their craft and their brands as entertainers, there would be less room for the issues that sometimes land them in trouble.

Tommy Lee, whose given name is Leroy Russell, is originally from Flanker in St James but has been based in Kingston over the past four years. He was arrested on Sunday, May 20, shortly after he had performed at the culmination show for the 2018 Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall showcase in Kingston.

Last Tuesday, Judge Sandria Wong-Small ordered the police to either charge the entertainer or release him by yesterday. With no charges laid against him, the judge order the artiste’s immediate release from the Freeport Police Station, where he was being held.

“With all due respect, I do not agree that he [Tommy Lee] has been properly taken into custody under the SOE (state of public emergency) in these particular circumstances. I do not find that he is properly detained, and he needs to be released,” said Wong-Small.

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Talent show winner heads to Sumfest

Kimberley Small

May 29, 2018
Contributed Red Stripe Big Buss Kingston winner Morvin Pennant accepts a gift basket from a promotional girl.

Morvin Pennant, now better known by his stage name, Hikaliba, was named the Kingston winner of the Red Stripe Big Buss Talent Search, held at Gee Wee Restaurant last Thursday night.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a miracle. Maybe it was meant for me,” Pennant told THE STAR.

Red Stripe, the title sponsor for Reggae Sumfest 2018, has been looking for the island’s next big stars, who will get their chance to perform at the biggest music festival in the country in July.

Interested parties were invited to participate in an audition, where they recorded a one-minute video of themselves performing an original song and emailed the video for consideration for the competition. Pennant received a message about the competition from his friend.

“I did have a video, so I asked my team to send it in. It was ironic because they tried to send it and it didn’t load,” he said.

“One of my friends say, ‘How come you in the Big Buss thing?’ I thought, ‘What are you talking about?’ When I check it out, ‘surprised’ is not even the word. It was like, ‘How is this possible?’ It was a week after we supposedly sent it in. It did work when my friend thought it didn’t. It did!”

GETTING INTO THE FINALS

“Then, I got an email that said I was drafted into the finals, so I should be prepared,” the aspiring artiste continued.

Pennant describes the experience so far as a good one, and his expectations for Sumfest are high. “I’ve always wanted to grace this stage. It’s funny how I’m getting to do it. But it doesn’t matter how I get there, I did it!”

He entered the competition not knowing what to expect, having entered the Tastee Talent Competition years ago. “It was so many years ago, I don’t even remember, so I never remembered how it felt. It was cool!”

Along with performing on the festival stage, Pennant will receive a cash prize of $100,000 and mentorship from legendary producer Mikey Bennett.

Pennant is most looking forward to the mentorship aspect of his winning package. “All this stuff added to it, I need this. Because I’m self-taught. Nobody taught me, so talking to people who know, it will be good for me,” he told THE STAR.

“It was a good experience for me. I give Red Stripe a tick for giving me the opportunity to do this. It’s something that got me on a huge stage. I needed this at the moment, so I’m grateful. It teaches me that all I need to do is turn up.”

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The North-American-based JetBlue Airways is confirmed as one of the premium sponsors of Reggae Sumfest 2018. Joe Bogdanovich, DownSound Entertainment (DSE) CEO, who acquired
the Sumfest Brand in 2016 welcomes the addition of JetBlue to the raft of sponsors. “The fact that JetBlue, an overseas based company, recognizes the value of the Reggae Sumfest Brand on the global scene clearly demonstrates its growth in influence and importance over its history.
Jamaican music, since the 1960s, with the emergence of icons such as Bob Marley, Toots
Hibbert, and Jimmy Cliff, has not only captured the imagination of numerous people across the
globe but has been integral to the mushrooming of Brand Jamaica. Reggae Sumfest is, perhaps,
the most influential vehicle to leverage and sustain Brand Jamaica and further promote the
island and its music”, Mr. Bogdanovich said.
Mr Sepp Donahower, Director Global Marketing for DSE, shared that, “Jet Blue is the official
and exclusive Airline Partner for Reggae Sumfest 2018, and will be the presenting sponsor for
the Live Stream of Reggae Sumfest 2018 on all DSE platforms. Since acquisition of Reggae
Sumfest in 2016, DSE has been engaged in bringing world class high production Live Streaming
and Video content of Reggae Sumfest to the world with ever expanding reach, on multiple
streaming and broadcast platforms. In 2017 during festival week, Reggae Sumfest had over
1,250,000 views watching the Live Stream and uploaded videos.” Reggae Sumfest for 2018 is
expected to continue this explosive streaming and viewing growth, which brought Jet Blue in as
a presenting partner for the stream. Fans will be able to access the Live Stream for 2018
through the Live Streaming page on the reggaesumfest.com website.” But, as Bogdanovich
points out, “there is nothing that can replace the energy and excitement of being at Catherine
Hall live”.
Past festivals and videos can be viewed on the YouTube channel & Reggae Sumfest Live
Streaming &  Video.
JetBlue, on the other hand, is elated to take part in Reggae Sumfest and will be working with
Reggae Sumfest and the Jamaica Tourist Board to give away hotel and air ticket inclusive 2 packages for two lucky winners to come to the festival from the United States. Additionally, plans are in place for a joint promotion locally to give away tickets to the festival.
“As the official airline partner of Reggae Sumfest, we are thrilled to be a part of this
extraordinary event that promotes Jamaican culture and brings people together through their
love of music. Reggae Sumfest is a great opportunity to showcase Jamaica as the relevant
destination that it is, while also benefitting its tourism industry and local economy”, stated
Giselle Cortes, Director of International Airports and Commercial. “JetBlue strives to support
the communities we serve by providing our customers, business partners and crew members
with outstanding experiences such as this one”, she added.
JetBlue is New York s Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-
Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 40
million customers a year to 102 cities in the US,Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of
1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.
“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”, Mr
Bogdanovich said.

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Montego Bay, JA Sumfest Blitz Pre-Event is a Sizzling Addition to the Week-Long Reggae Sumfest Festivities in Paradise
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Have you heard about the Reggae Sumfest Blitz All-Black Edition? The Blitz will take place on Wednesday, July 18th at 8 pm. at a new venue for Reggae Sumfest the swanky Hard Rock Café in Montego Bay. Get ready to slip into your sexiest black outfit, be wined and dined, and enjoy the upscale Jamaican party experience.

The event’s performers both come from Jamaican families: The UK’s sexy dancehall rapper Stefflon Don and Safaree from VH1’s Love & Hip Hop. They will perform incredible sets, with music juggling from the popular DJs: Creep from Chromatic, Rolexx, Noah Powah & Team Shella.

It’s going to be a high-energy event with special mixed drinks and gourmet cuisine all included in admission price.

Start making your travel arrangements now as this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take in all of the pre-events and authentic Jamaican reggae festivities all within one week in gorgeous Montego Bay.

Get your advance tickets now for sale here

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Must be 18 or over to Drink- Drink Responsibly

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How Tuna Fish Heir & Reggae Sumfest Owner Josef Bogdanovich Became One of Jamaican Music’s Biggest Advocates

Josef Bogdanovich and Robert Russell

“How can a country with just 3 million people receive so much recognition from people of so many different nationalities? Has anyone figured that out?” Bogdanovich asked. Struggling to be heard above the conversations fueled by the complimentary Red Stripe beer (Sumfest’s title sponsor) served at the bar of Lower East Side venue The DL, Bogdanovich, an American businessman whose experience in the entertainment industry dates back to the 1970s, raised his voice to a thunderous pitch.

“Yo! Have you figured it out yet? We must understand the power of this music and this festival. We must understand the economics of survival and acknowledge that unity is one of the keys to survival. Get educated! Stop the violence! Let’s celebrate unity and togetherness and show just how serious we are about our music, our festival, Reggae Sumfest.”

Montego Bay, Jamaica. 
Montego Bay, Jamaica’s Rising Violence Mirrors Past Troubles — With Music as a Balm

Bogdanovich’s plea to stop the violence refers to the spiraling gang-related murders/reprisal killings in and around Montego Bay stemming from notorious lottery scamming operations. In January 2018, the Jamaican government declared a state of emergency in St. James Parish, where Montego Bay is located, which remains in effect five months later.

Inaugurated in August 1993 at Montego Bay’s Catherine Hall as a vehicle to boost tourism during the summer’s low visitor arrivals season — and as a replacement for its predecessor Reggae Sunsplash, which had relocated to the outskirts of Kingston the same year — Reggae Sumfest has attracted thousands of visitors to Jamaica and generated millions for the island’s economy.

Artists like 50 CentCommonDestiny’s ChildNe-YoNicki MinajLionel RichieRihanna and Kanye West and other American superstars have headlined Sumfest over the years, but it’s reggae that dominates. Many Jamaican artists’ careers have been launched, ascended to the next level or generated interest far beyond the island’s shores directly from the festival’s stage. The legendary Toots and The Maytals, veteran Rastafarian roots singer Burning Spear, dancehall superstars Shaggy and Sean Paul and millennial reggae acts Chronixx and Raging Fyah are among the diverse Jamaican talent that have appeared on the Sumfest stage.

Artists’ escalating costs, juxtaposed with the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, as well as competition with European summer reggae festivals looking to secure the most popular Jamaican acts, yielded an uncertain future for Reggae Sumfest 2016, which prompted one of the Sumfest founders, Robert Russell, to recommended Bogdanovich as an investor.

“We knew we would have had to scale back Sumfest quite a bit because we reached a point where we couldn’t afford the foreign [American] acts’ prices anymore as the festival’s sponsorship diminished,” Russell told Billboard while in Manhattan for the Sumfest launch. “I initially suggested that Joe get involved as an investor, but then I suggested he buy the festival so he didn’t have to contend with those shareholders who weren’t prepared to move forward and put more money into it, even though they have been reaping the benefits for many years. Joe agreed to buy it [for an undisclosed sum] with the condition that I remain involved, because he needed someone who knew the ropes.”

Los Angeles born and raised Bogdanovich — just “Joe” to his friends and colleagues — began visiting Jamaica in the early 1990s before settling in the island’s capital, Kingston, in 1999. He’s the grandson of the late Martin J. Bogdanovich, the founder of StarKist foods; as an heir to that affluence, Bogdanovich could have invested his resources in any number of entertainment endeavors, anywhere in the world. Yet he chose Jamaica and its reggae and dancehall music, which haven’t yielded financial returns for the island and its artists commensurate with their pervasive influence on popular culture.

“No one gets into this for the money, we do it out of passion, for the love of the music,” Bogdanovich told Billboard in New York, on the evening prior to Sumfest’s April 17th launch.

Bogdanovich, who worked as a film screenwriter, producer and director before turning to music, learned the rigors of the entertainment business from his older brother, Robert, a co-founder of Los Angeles-based Pacific Presentations, one of the largest concert promotion companies of the 1970s. He started the Acid Jazz record label in Los Angeles in 1992, focusing on dance music; a year later he founded Downsound Records. By 1995, Bogdanovich had established a Downsound office in Kingston and ever since, the label has signed and/or released music from an eclectic array of reggae and dancehall artists, charting a musical identity that is as flamboyant, unpredictable and occasionally controversial as Bogdanovich and his wider business moves.

Amidst the resurgence in roots reggae in Jamaica in the mid 2000s, Downsound Records found success with Rastafarian reggae artist Fantan Mojah, especially his meditative chant “Hail The King,” featuring veteran master drummer Bongo Herman, its video directed by Bogdanovich.

Bogdanovich/Downsound were involved in the career of singer Jah Cure, who rose to stardom while serving a 12-year sentence following a rape conviction, the result of what many argue was a biased trial. In 2006, Bogdanovich produced the song and directed the video for what best summarizes Jah Cure’s saga, one of the biggest reggae stories of the 2000s, “True Reflections (Behind These Prison Walls),” which Cure recorded behind bars.

In 2013, Bogdanovich signed and brought resurgent interest to the iconic but troubled deejay Ninja Man, considered the king of clashing (a prototype of hip-hop’s MC battles) since the 1980s. Ninja Man, an admitted crack cocaine user, teamed up with Downsound’s younger signee Specialist as they sparred for generational supremacy on the popular dancehall single “Dweet“; Bogdanovich directed the song’s video and has a speaking role in its opening scenes.

Ninja Man parted ways with Downsound in 2015, was found guilty of a 2009 murder in 2017, and is now serving a life sentence.

Some Downsound artists’ well-publicized, occasionally-acrimonious departures from the label — including Fantan Mojah, deejay Foota Hype, sing-jay Nature and especially female dancehall artist Ishawna — have provided plenty of fodder for Jamaican tabloids and reggae gossip sites. Unsurprisingly, Bogdanovich now prioritizes other entertainment activities over his label pursuits. “We are not really interested in artists now because they sell us out; we’ve been shortchanged so many times that it’s irresponsible for me to spend my time and resources on them,” Bogdanovich said. “We lost a lot of years where my time could have been better spent for the industry, and that is in concert promotion and production.”

Over the past four years, Bogdanovich has elevated his corporate profile with several multimillion-dollar investments in Jamaica. He is a major shareholder in the KLE Group, which operates Usain Bolt‘s Tracks & Records, the popular sports bar/restaurant co-owned by the celebrated Olympian. Bogdanovich also acquired Hardware & Lumber, the island’s largest retail hardware chain, in 2016.

In 2017, Bogdanovich established “Caribbean Love Now” to aid Caribbean islands ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Caribbean Love Now held its inaugural fundraising concert, Jamathon, in November, featuring 30 primarily Jamaican acts, all of whom donated their time for the event. Bogdanovich wouldn’t disclose how much was raised from Jamathon, which is slated to be an annual event, but the organization has already sent containers of relief supplies to the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica; Bogdanovich and a Jamaican team are scheduled to visit Dominica later in the year to oversee the rebuilding of a school and hospital there. The official song for the Caribbean Love Now campaign, “Carry On,” features an all-star Jamaican cast including Tessanne Chin (season 5 winner of NBC’s The Voice), Tarrus Riley and Chronixx, produced by Sean DiedrickDean Fraser and Sherieta Lewis, for Downsound Records.

But the brightest jewel in Bogdanovich’s glittering collection of acquisitions — and potentially its most valuable — is Reggae Sumfest. Since taking the reins in 2016, he’s introduced HD live streaming and a 360 virtual reality access app, which he says generated 60 million digital impressions in 2017, three times more than 2016. Bogdanovich has expanded the now 26-year-old festival to eight days this year (July 15-22), which will include the inaugural Sumfest Inspire Awards, given to industry practitioners; a reggae business symposium; and an international sound system clash, World Clash, organized by preeminent sound system promoters Irish and Chin.

Downsound Entertainment has pioneered a reciprocal promotion strategy between Sumfest and Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year (Dec. 1-5). Most significant of all, Bogdanovich has jettisoned American headliners from Sumfest’s concerts, Festival Nights 1 and 2.

“We use the slogan ‘our music, our festival’ because we’ve reinstated Jamaicans as Sumfest’s international stars,” says Bogdanovich of the lineup, which includes legendary vocalist Beres Hammond; English-Jamaican singer Maxi Priest; dancehall stars Popcaan and Aidonia; Fantan Mojah; Rastafarian chanter Sizzla; longtime Downsound artist Harry Toddler; and Marley. “I want to highlight reggae and dancehall, to bring more business to Jamaica because it’s a great, blessed island,” Bogdanovich says. “And I am doing everything I can to support it.”

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Reggae Sumfest 2018: A Week-Long Reggae Party in Paradise


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Reggae Sumfest & Downsound Entertainment have set the bar for Reggae events sky-high with the Week-Long Sumfest Event Schedule for 2018! 

Reggae fans from around the world are already scooping up their tickets to the hottest week in Reggae & Dancehall and will arrive in Montego Bay by July 15th to experience the festival of a lifetime.

Pre-Events Include:

The Colorfest Beach Party on July 15 at Tropical Bliss Beach

The Free Street Dance and Party on July 16 on the Hip Strip

The All White Party at Pier One on July 17

The Blitz Party at The Hard Rock Cafe with inclusive food and drinks on July 18

The 20th Anniversary of Irish & Chin’s World Clash on July 19 at the Pier One Event Centre

Reggae Sumfest

The Main Festival Nights on July 20 & 21 at Catherine Hall Entertainment Center features the greatest stars of Reggae and Dancehall ~ all night long!

The Festival Week winds up with a 7am Tailgate Party at Dump Up Beach, called Morning Meds.

 Advance Tickets Now On Sale for All Reggae Sumfest Events…And don’t forget to print out your free tickets to the big Street Dance on the Hip Strip Monday July 16…. Don’t miss out….The Ultra VIP with Seat Tickets are going fast…As well as VIP Tickets…and GA….Reggae Sumfest 2018 looks like it is heading to a sellout. 

The festival will again be live-streamed in high-definition video.

Reggae Sumfest has become the most watched Reggae & Dancehall festival in the world….Don’t miss it!

 

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Reggae Sumfest: Virtual Access Granted To Millions Worldwide
Monday | July 10, 2017 | 7:56 PM

The world will be watching the best of reggae and dancehall on stage at Reggae Sumfest when the main concert opens on Friday, July 21 at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. Red Stripe presents Reggae Sumfest 25, will raise the bar in the quality of food offerings, venue layout and worldwide accessibility.

 (more…)

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Reggae Sumfest to feature highly anticipated Second-Generation Reggae Performers

By: RBA Publishing June 30, 2017
Reggae Sumfest 2017 features Meleku the son of Sizzla & Davianah, the daughter of Tony Rebel.
Creativity must be in the genes as Sizzla’s son Meleku is making a name for himself as a reggae artist, appearing on stage alongside his famous father the past few years and now will be performing at the Main Event on July 22nd.
Another relatively new artist is Davianah, the daughter of the legendary Tony Rebel also performing at the Main Event Night 2, July 22nd, 2017. Reggae fans worldwide are eagerly anticipating these performances as they have been listening to their parents for decades.

If you can’t attend in person do make sure you tune in to the 360Degree Live Stream.

LINKS:

-RBA Publishing June 30, 2017

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The Best Caribbean Summer Parties
12 island-style celebrations you shouldn’t miss

Jamaica’s largest music festival is also the island’s biggest party. The weeklong celebration is staged at Montego Bay, and features local reggae and dancehall artists. Before the music starts, the fun kicks off with a beach party, a musical day cruise and the famous “All White Party.” When the concerts get underway, audiences arrive with their own “reggae beds” — flattened cardboard boxes for sitting and chilling between dance sessions. The 2017 Sumfest runs from July 16 to 22. (more…)