Category: News


Sumfest highlights the economic value of events
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A section of the crowd at Reggae Sumfest
People engaged in the travel industry will admit that events hold the potential to drive huge visitor traffic to a destination.

For example, Summerfest, the 50-year-old music festival staged on the shore of Lake Michigan in the United States is reported to attract audiences in the range of 800,000 to 900,000 annually.

Probably the fact that Summerfest, staged in late June and early July, features more than 700 artistes performing on 11 different stages over 11 days is what influenced its ranking by the Guinness Book of Records in 1999 as ‘The world’s largest music festival’.

However, Summerfest’s audience numbers pale when compared to the approximately 2.65 million that are said to attend the Mawazine Festival staged in Rabat, Morocco, each year in May and which features huge American and African acts.

As is to be expected, shops, local markets, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and many more businesses benefit from the Mawazine Festival. In fact, data from the festival’s website indicate that the event is a major source of business for Morocco. Retail, catering, and the transportation sectors are reported to experience growth in sales by an average of 30 per cent, we are told. In addition, hotels have reported increases in sales by an average of 22 per cent.

While we have not yet received official data from Jamaica’s tourism authorities, word is that an estimated 10,000 visitors came here during the staging of this year’s Reggae Sumfest.

In fact, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has indicated that $1 billion was generated at the music festival held July 14-20 in Montego Bay, the city regarded as Jamaica’s tourism capital.

But even without the official data, no one can challenge the benefit of Reggae Sumfest to the Jamaican economy, as the event, titled ‘The greatest reggae festival on Earth’, has immense international appeal, driven by our music and reputation as one of the world’s leading visitor destinations.

From all reports, this year’s staging of Sumfest was successful, and the organisers are describing it as the “biggest and best ever” in the festival’s history.

“It went very, very well,” Mr Robert Russell, a co-founder of the festival, told this newspaper. “Everybody has done very well. The vendors are happy; the massive crowd is happy; the musicians, the security forces… everything has gone very well this year.”

Based on that success, and armed with the knowledge that events do attract large numbers of visitors to tourist destinations, the organisers of Reggae Sumfest are mulling the staging of a jazz and blues music festival.

That type of event is not foreign to Jamaica, as in previous years the country successfully hosted the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, featuring mega stars such as Celine Dion, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Patti LaBelle, Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Air Supply, Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, The Pointer Sisters, and Babyface, to name a few.

These types of events can be extremely expensive to stage, but the team of investors involved in Reggae Sumfest have the requisite skill and experience to do well. As such, they should be encouraged to seriously take on the staging of a jazz and blues festival, as that will give a further boost to the economy and, of course, our tourism industry.

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Sumfest gets high marks

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 1 comment

Organisers of the 27th Reggae Sumfest have hailed it as the “biggest and best ever” in its history. They pointed to the massive crowds and excellent delivery by artistes, during its live performance nights last Friday and Saturday at Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay.

“This is just awesome in every way. Spiritually-wise, no violence … and that is what Reggae Sumfest is all about. Last night (Friday) was very, very big, the biggest ever until tonight (Saturday). The good thing is that everybody was all working together, the fire department, the police, the health department,” Sumfest boss Josef Bogdanovich told the Jamaica Observer shortly before the show ended Sunday morning.

Reggae Sumfest co-founder Robert Russell expressed similar sentiments.

“It is the biggest Sumfest ever, no question about that,” he stressed. “It went very, very well, everybody has done very well. The vendors are happy, the massive crowd is happy, the musicians, the security forces … everything has gone very, well this year.”

Russell said the strong line-up of artistes was the main reason for the tremendous support from patrons.

“The line-up is one of the key ingredients for the success of any show, and we had a great line-up, and that manifested itself in the crowd support.”

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$1 billion generated from Reggae Sumfest, says Bartlett

Montego Bay has been on the receiving end of a much-needed cash windfall.
That’s according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett who has indicated that $1 billion was generated at the just concluded Reggae Sumfest music festival held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay, St James

“This year was arguably the largest Reggae Sumfest in terms of attendance from both local and overseas guests. On the visitor arrival side, we saw approximately 10,000 people coming to the island for the festival which is an increase of 3,000 over last year. More importantly, we estimate the revenue impact from the festival to be $1 billion based on average room nights stay of locals and visitors and taxes,” said Bartlett through a press release from his ministry.

Reggae Sumfest, which began in 1993, has been described as the largest music festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean, taking place each year in mid-July in Montego Bay. It attracts crowds of all ages from all over the world and locally, and has featured a variety of Jamaican reggae artists as well as international acts.

“The success of entertainment festivals such as Sumfest augurs well for tourism as it boosts arrivals and has a major economic impact in and around Montego Bay. Through these types of events, hotels both large and small, attractions and smaller players in the sector get to truly benefit from the extensive value chain of tourism,” he said.

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Timeless Beres Hammond The King Of Lovers Rock Thrills Reggae Sumfest
by J.D. Smith  July 22, 2019

Beres Hammond sumfest

The king of lovers rock did not disappoint those on hand at Reggae Sumfest last night. He reeled off countless hits which have transcended generations, which was evident when taking the crowd reaction into consideration.

Young and old were captivated by Uncle Beres’ raspy vocals and melodies. Some were even surprised to see the energy the veteran left on the stage. For me, this performance easily ranks among the top 3 performances at the entire festival, legendary to say the least.

He ran through his hits like “Rock Away,” “No Disturb Sign,” “Step Aside Now” to a sing-along choir of thousands of patrons. Beres had the ladies in the venue in a frenzy. One patron said, “I would never allow Beres to sing to my girl,” and who would blame him.

The “Sweet Life” singer proved last night that he is the best ever to do it ( lovers rock ). I mean, Beres had one of the most genuine receptions I have ever seen, the relationship between Jamaica and this entertainer is unmovable and unbreakable.

All the stars were out enjoying the performance with the master. Jesse Royal and the likes of Agent Sasco looked to the stage attentively as if God descended, hardcore deejay Govana was caught on screen lip sinking the lyrics of “Sweet Life.” Beres it seems is a favorite even among the superstars in the industry.

After experiencing dancehall night, a great spectacle, last night was actually an improvement. Veterans like Beres Hammond proved that they were on another level performance-wise, vocally as well, just top class.

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Stars Shine Brightly On Reggae Sumfest Night 2

Published:Monday | July 22, 2019 | 12:16 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

Kenyon Hemans
Protoje performs with two of his friends, Lila Ike and Agent Sasco.


Awake from their slumber last Saturday night, the audience that stood in anticipation of the performance from former musical protégé Protoje acknowledged that he has since mastered the craft.

With the fullest versatility on display, the Grammy-nominated lyricist, a Lion King in his own right, questioned Who is a Scar to a Simba, the collab with Jessie Royal on Royal’s Lion Order.

Whether it was with Like This or Rasta Man , featuring Ky-Mani Marley, Protoje built the energy of the audience, which had only previously been stirred by X-Factor/Digicel Rising stars Dalton Harris.

Introducing newcomer Lila Ike to his set led to a resounding ovation, which doubled when Agent Sasco made a surprise entrance. Singer/DJ Chronixx joined Protoje on stage, with the internationally acclaimed Who Knows receiving the loudest ovation of the night to that point.

Buju Banton had not yet hit the stage, neither had two of the Digicel Rising Stars trio. Romain Virgo and Christopher Martin, who made history by being on the same internationally acclaimed stage performing for the same audience in one night.

Opening with a rendition of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, Virgo stepped on stage donned in a fashionable three-pieced suit. As he inquired if the crowd believed in love,In This Together and Wanna Go Home showed that he ­definitely did, whereas Love Doctor and Don’t You Remember showed his vocal prowess. The audience itself was just as Rich in Love as Virgo was, feeling the power of his robust set. The loudest ovation was for 10-year-old Tashae Silvera, who chastised the “dutty men” and the “waste men” alike, with the background showing the statistics of missing children.

You can never go wrong with ending your set with the country’s national anthem, and Virgo did so flawlessly.

The consummate professional, beckoned by his given name, Hugh Beresford Hammond, showed that few things are as consistent as the excellence of a Beres Hammond performance. Come Back Home did not disappoint Step Aside Now and Standing in the Way both pleaded for a lesser man to move up. In making the crowd Feel Good, Hammond expressed the same sentiment.

Even though every song is a classic, Double Trouble and Putting Up Resistancespoke to timeless hits the cultured Catherine Hall crowd could appreciate. “I wonder if you remember this song yah.” Seriously, Hammond? Catherine Hall, Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay remember every word to every song you have ever done.

The penultimate act at Reggae Sumfest 2019 was indeed a Big Deal, not a meal deal. Year in and year out, Christopher Martin has used the Sumfest stage to show his growth as an artiste and a performer, and Saturday night was his best to date.

Totally in his element, Can’t Love Me Now and Cheaters Anthem struck a resounding ovation as Martin refused to extol misogyny in an era of women empowerment.

Leave People Business Alone was followed by Martin imploring the audience to love the country’s women, with the rash of violence prevalent in today’s Jamaica.

The Strong One, Etana, came out in a black and gold dress to a Better Tomorrow. With a vocal presence that was impossible to ignore, Etana entertained with Warrior Love and I Rise, which got the audience to sing along. Years later, Wrong Addressstill has the same effect, which speaks to how relatable her words are in song.

The 27th Reggae Sumfest also saw performances from a conscious and captivating Jah9, whose message had the audience in action mode.

Performances from Kamar Highcon, Montego Bay’s Jovex, Kingston’s Alpha Boy’s Band, Florida’s Tesselated, Avante, and Dre Zee all added to the wholesomeness of the final night of Reggae Sumfest 2019.

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Reggae Sumfest Street Dance Loud – Foota Hype ‘Shell It’

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:11 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

Ashley Anguin
Selector Sky Juice proudly displays his trademark ‘big belly’ to the crowd.
Veteran selector Oneil ‘Foota Hype’ Thomas ended his protracted hiatus from the local dancehall space in fine style when he combined his selecting skills and his social media bravado, churning out non-stop excitement as he ‘shelled’ Monday night’s Reggae Sumfest’s annual free street dance in Montego Bay.

“People warn me seh me nuh come because the 6ixes wi kill me, but dat couldn’t stop me,” said Foot Hype, as he strolled to centre stage in the jam-packed Old Hospital Park on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard against a backdrop of deafening screams. “Big up the 6ixes, dem a gwaan good … me waan big up de other MoBay artistes dem … unoo a gwaan good to,” Foota stated.

In his usual uncompromising style, Foota Hype quickly raced into top gear, unleashing some of the hottest dancehall hits, which he mixed with his social-media-style rants. He took potshots at some of his former Downsound Record colleagues, especially producer Skatta Burrell, his ex-lover Ishawna, and the outfit’s boss, Reggae Sumfest’s CEO, Joe Bogdanovich.

Before unleashing his lyrical assault on the Downsound crew, Foota Hype jokingly issued the proviso, “I hope nobody don’t tek it too serious.” Amid much laughter from the patrons, he detailed explicitly how he lost his “ex” (Ishawna), first to Skatta, and later to Bogdanovich.

However, Foota Hype said that his Downsound experience has made him bigger, better and richer. “A now me hot. You nuh se seh, although me and Downsound a nuh friend, dem haffi send fe me … a me hot right yah now.”

With the crowd urging him to “talk up the tings, Foota,” the selector remarked, “I would like to ask Joe (Bogdanovich) why him a buy de girl with expensive Benz?”

Much to the delight of the fans, Bogdanovich, who was standing backstage, strolled to centre stage and, after striking a boss-man pose, told the selector, “Foota, you are hype,” as they both burst out laughing.

“A de first time inna six years me talk to anybody from Downsound,” said Foota Hype, as Bogdanovich walked from the stage. “Joe a good man, a big money dem pay me fe de yah tonight.”

Prior to Foota Hype’s high-energy stint, the large crowd, easily one of the biggest ever seen at the seaside venue, also got a sparkling display from another veteran selector, the lovable Sky Juice. He dazzled them for one hour without a single expletive or any derogatory utterances.

Sky Juice, who was elegantly clad in red and white, which was reduced to only his red pants during his performance, had the fans in stitches as he made his big-belly dance to several popular hits. In addition to giving love to many of Jamaica’s top dancehall artistes with his classy selections, he also invited Japanese dancer Nami Crissy and her crew to centre stage, where they showed off their dancing skills.

Team Shella and C Note had set a riveting early pace with a string of hit songs, which had the crowd in a dancing frenzy. Visitors to the island, who were out in generous numbers, got a taste of the ‘money pull-up’ phenomenon as fans threw money on stage to have the selector ‘pull up’ their favourite songs.

“I am just loving this … nothing pleases me more than to see the people enjoying themselves,” said Bogdanovich, who was treated like royalty by the patrons, many of whom requested photographs with him.

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The birds are singing for Aidonia – Bogdanovich says patrons should expect surprises at Reggae Sumfest
by Shereita Grizzle – Staff Reporter
July 18, 2019


With a day before the first performance night gets under way at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, Reggae Sumfest’s chief organiser, Joe Bogdanovich, says patrons are in for a host of surprises as far as the final line-up is concerned.

With rumours that Aidonia may be among the late additions, Bogdanovich, although offering no confirmation, says the former is a possibility.

“I was in the park the other day, and at sunset, often the birds like to hang out there and chit-chat, and they sing all kinds of tunes out there. They sang a tune for Koffee, and I paid attention to the birdies. All I can say now is that they’re chit chatting again, and I don’t know what they have for this Donia kid, but boy, they couldn’t stop talking about him,” he said.

“They (the birds) think that not only will Donia be there, but there will be others. Everybody wants to be on this show, and everybody wants to be at this show. It’s going to be a landmark show. The weather is great. We have some tricks up our sleeves. It’ll be fun. You don’t wanna miss a beat.”

Last minute additions are sometimes taken out of context to mean that promoters of an event are cowering before the final hour to book big name acts to carry the event. This is not the case for Reggae Sumfest, Bogdanovich insisted.

“Everybody who’s anybody is on this show. I think the ladies will represent really well with they dynamics. We have some youthful energy, as well as an act that always delivers. I think that we got a lot of emphasis on young, vibrant relevant artistes coming up. It’s nice to see the second city coming up with some big aces again, and everybody is excited about that. Everybody seems to think that the ‘6ixes’ have really resurrected dancehall, and we will see how they do,” he said.

“We have the legends of dancehall there in, Bounty and Beenie, who are very enthusiastic about showing us what it takes to be a legend and survive for so long in this business. I think that Chronixx is a huge international star, and he’s reggae, dancehall Jamaican making big moves, and he’s on top of the game. Koffee, who has just been added, she’s 19 and a phenom everybody wants to see. The facts are what they are, and Dancehall Night is going to be special. So, get there early cause it’s going to sell off.”

Speaking of early, Bogdanovich urged artistes to be on time for their sets, as he is hoping to meet a 6 a.m. lock-off time. He pointed out that he will be trying to adhere to international standards for the show, which would mean that artistes who miss their performance slots might not get to perform and/or could risk not being paid the balance of their appearance fee.

Tomorrow’s show will see the likes of Spice, Dovey Magnum, Shauna Controlla, Govana, Dexta Daps, Squash, Chronic Law and Jahvillani joining Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Chronixx and Koffee to share the stage

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Reggae Sumfest 2019 featuring performances by Buju Banton, Beres Hammond, Protoje, Romain Virgo, Etana, Dalton Harris, Chris Martin, Tessellated, Jah 9, Avante, Jovexx, Dre Zee, Faice and Hemar Highcon held at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay on Saturday July 20, 2019. SPONSORED BY QUANTUM CONCEPTS 

Photographed by Kenyon Hemans and Ashley Anguin

Gallery | Reggae Sumfest 2019 Festival Night Two

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. July 22, 2019: Dubbed as the ‘world’s greatest reggae show,’ Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest concluded early Sunday morning in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was marked by stellar performances by the island’s top reggae and dancehall artists. Here are our Top 10 Performances from Sumfest 2019:

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Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has indicated that J$ 1 Billion was generated at the just concluded Reggae Sumfest music festival held at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.

“This year was arguably the largest Reggae Sumfest in terms of attendance from both local and overseas guests. On the visitor arrival side, we saw approximately 10,000 people coming to the island for the festival which is an increase of 3000 over last year.

More importantly we estimate the revenue impact from the festival to be $J1 Billion based on average room nights stay of locals and visitors and taxes,” said Minister Bartlett.

Reggae Sumfest, which began in 1993, has been described as the largest music festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean, taking place each year in mid-July in Montego Bay. It attracts crowds of all ages from all over the world and locally and has featured a variety of Jamaican reggae artists as well as international acts.

Jamaica Tourism Minister: Reggae Sumfest generates J$1 billion

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (R) engages in discussion with Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness at the Jamaica Tourist Board booth at Reggae Sumfest held at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay. Minister Bartlett has indicated that the estimated revenue impact of the festival is J$1 Billion.

Minister Bartlett added that, “The success of entertainment festivals such as Sumfest augurs well for tourism as it boosts arrivals and has a major economic impact in and around Montego Bay.

Through these types of events, hotels both large and small, attractions and smaller players in the sector get to truly benefit from the extensive value chain of tourism.”

The weeklong festival usually kicks off with the Sumfest Beach Party  which is followed with a series of events including a free Street Dance. Then there are two nights of the main festival with live performances featuring some of the best Dancehall and Reggae Artists in the world.