Good evening. Welcome.
The Honourable Olivia Grange, His Worship The Mayor Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen….
DSE became an owner of Reggae Sumfest officially in May, 2016 a little over two years ago.
Local audience attendance in our first year increased substantially from the previous year. We also introduced our Live Stream that connected fans globally opening our gates to hundreds of thousands.
2017 local attendance increased significantly with fans on Dancehall Night remaining well into daybreak to near capacity. This was a sight witnessing the power of Peace & Love and has been etched in many fans memory, perhaps forever.
Our streaming attendance transformed Reggae Sumfest into a truly
international festival with an international live fan attendance close to a million and in our aftermath literally 10’s of millions watching on line and increasing daily. This says a lot for the concept “Our Music, Our Festival”.
2018 looks to be even more promising. This year’s line up is simply awesome. We have expanded the festival to 8 days with 7 preview and post events and 2 weekend live stage shows.
Last year we introduced the food court which was a hit and this year we are introducing the Merchandise Mall featuring 18 local vendors with their goods.
We have also introduced a daytime Symposium appealing to local folks who want to learn more about the industry and how to get involved. This Symposium will also embrace ideas in support of the intellectual cultural experience that many abroad thirst for. Reggae Sumfest – something for everyone. I also want to recognise the addition of three new sponsors Master Card, Jet Blue, NCB and Grace.
And now for the reality that I’m sure is on peoples minds. The state of emergency order that began in January of this year and has been continued to August 2nd has returned peace and tranquility to Montego Bay. Over the months I think it’s now safe to say that a wave of fresh air has returned to Montego Bay where people feel safe and the smile of optimism can be seen on many faces. I have been told that tourism numbers continue to increase and from the looks of things July will be another bumper month for the city, the festival and the country. I and other team members are in discussion with the police and the government and I believe we all recognise the positive energy that Reggae Sumfest brings to the people of Montego Bay and to the country. I’m confident that the government will do the right thing and I’m confident that the people will do the right thing. Let’s celebrate together, Our Music, Our festival – Reggae Sumfest. Thank you.
I think that all who have shared in the Reggae Sumfest experience over the last 25 years will agree that the promoters have got it just right.
This is indeed the greatest Reggae festival on earth.
I am proud to see the continuation over the years and the value that Reggae Sumfest has brought and continues to bring to Jamaica’s music industry.
Before Reggae Sumfest, there was Reggae Sunsplash and I want to pay tribute to those who gave of their time and effort to make it a reality. That event gave birth to a large number of festivals around the world including Rottotom Sunsplash, Reggae on the River and numerous others across all continents.
So it is time again to experience “Our Music” right here at home. Reggae Sumfest 2018 in Montego Bay!
I have so many fond memories of this festival since its beginning in 1993. I applaud the work of the production teams past and present and I commend the vision of Joe Bogdanovich. He has moved Reggae Sumfest further into the technological sphere while keeping it authentically Jamaican.
Personally, I am looking forward to the “World Sound Clash” event on Thursday, July 19 featuring Tony Matterhorn, Mighty Crown, Pink Panther and Ricky Trooper.
The Street Dance on Monday, July 16 on the Hip Street also taps into our authentic Jamaican culture which so many visitors crave and travel to experience each year.
The Breakfast Party fits into an evolving 24-hour party vibe that is becoming quite popular in our entertainment landscape.
The best artistes in Reggae and dancehall will be on show come July 21 and 22. Based on the line-up, this may be one of the best years of Reggae Sumfest.
This evening, I also want to speak to you a little about the importance of sustaining festivals such as Reggae Sumfest that highlight Jamaican music and culture. We know for a fact that worldwide it is the Culture and Creative Industries that are leading the growth of the economies of many countries.
In addition, within the creative industries, it is the festivals, and what is now dubbed “the Festival Economy” that are providing economic sustainability across the world.
I am determined that our festivals, particularly our music festivals, will play a significant role in building the economy. So many people benefit from our music festivals — from the big executives, to event planners, to production teams, to artistes and performers, to vendors, to the peanut man, to the dressmakers, to taxi operators.
There is space for everyone to earn in the festival economy.
On June 13, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport will partner with the British Council and the JCDC to host an all-day seminar and workshop called “Festival X”, to equip our festival organisers with the information, technical support and seed funding to ensure that we “up di ting” in professionalism and creating unforgettable experiences.
In applauding the Reggae Sumfest Team, I wish to pay tribute to Robert Russell for his commitment to Reggae Sumfest, working along with Joe who has put his money were his mouth is.
My Ministry is working to unearth and develop creative talent and business capacity towards building the festival economy and delivering prosperity to our people.
Congratulations again and I anticipate another wonderful staging of the greatest Reggae show on earth — Our Music, Our Festival.
Capleton the Fireman will be closing night two, popularly called Reggae Night, of this year’s renewal of Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest.
“Capleton always delivers, so it doesn’t matter if he’s on Dancehall Night or Reggae Night. He blazes the stage whenever he touches it,” Joe Bogdanovich, CEO of Sumfest, said.
“He’s been one of those performers over the years that gets better each time. He’s a guy that has fire in his heart, fire in his soul, and he lights things up, so we’re looking forward to what he has to offer this year. Reggae Night is going to be something special, and people are going to see that we didn’t need international acts to come here and excite and pull a crowd because we have top-notch international acts right here at home,” Bogdanovich added.
Several top artistes have been billed to perform on night two of the festival. They include Beres Hammond, Jr Gong, Maxi Priest, Cham, J Bogg, Jesse Royal Jahdore, Fantan Mojah, Empress Ayeola and Raging Fyah.
Bogdanovich, who took over Sumfest in 2016, said his aim for the festival this year is to make Reggae Night as big as Dancehall Night.
“Every year, I think about how we can top the year before because growth is important for me. When we cut out International Nght, a lot of people were sceptical, but since then, Dancehall Night has grown to where we’ve seen record turnouts, and the aim now is to get the numbers up for Reggae Night as well,” he said.
“We have seen where Reggae Night has grown, but it’s not where we want it to be yet. Dancehall Nnight carries the most excitement of the two nights in terms of the buzz from people, and we want to get that excitement level up for Reggae Night as well.”
Bogdanovich said that this year’s line-up for Reggae Night was specifically designed to increase the excitement on the night.
“We have a very good line-up this year with a few surprises expected on Reggae Night, so we hope to top Dancehall Night this year. Jr Gong is going to be fabulous, and it will be his birthday, so expect something special from him. Beres always delivers, and Maxi Priest, too, is going to be phenomenal,” he said.
Meanwhile, there have been talks that dancehall’s leading lady, Spice, will be closing Dancehall Night this year. However, with just over a month to go until the greatest reggae show on earth takes over the city of Montego Bay, it is still unclear who the 2018 closer will be. “I can guarantee whoever that person is, they will perform to a packed venue because nobody will be leaving until the show ends, and trust me, they’re going to want to wait and see,” he said.
“We have artistes clamouring to close the show, so whoever that will be, they will be excited, and they will give it their best. It’s going to be a high-energy performance, and it will be worth it.”