For those who missed Buju Banton’s performance at the National Stadium last Saturday, the chance to see the Gargamel in his element will roll around again this summer at Reggae Sumfest 2019.
The Sumfest team made the revelation on Sunday morning after the Long Walk to Freedom concert wrapped up inside the National Stadium.
‘Sumfest to B.B.C.’ (referring to Buju, Beres Hammond and Chronixx), made the rounds on social media and in print, as the show’s organisers revealed the artistes set to headline the big nights of this year’s festival.
In an interview with THE STAR, CEO of Downsound Entertainment and chief organiser of Reggae Sumfest, Joe Bogdanovich, revealed that talks between Buju and his team began last December when he was released from prison.
“He respects the festival and the reach we have and he wanted to do the show. He just didn’t want us to advertise before his show and so we held off,” he said, stating that he expects Banton’s Sumfest appearance to be just as good as Saturday. “Buju is doing great things as he exhibited the other night, and I think he’s going to be amazing. He’s going to do four shows before us in July, and by then he will only get better. He’s going to get re-familiarised with everything and he’s going to be even more excited. I expect more energy, more interaction, just more of everything.”
Bogdanovich would not reveal how deep he had to dig in his pockets to ensure the Gargamel would grace the Sumfest stage, but says he is certain it will be money well spent.
“I can’t tell you that (the fee),” he said. “All I can say is that we listen to our patrons and we try our best to give them what they want and right now, they want Buju.”
He also spoke about Hammond and Chronixx, the other two headliners.
“The people love Beres, they love Buju and they love Chronixx, so we came up with the B.B.C. idea. This line-up and festival is very special, and I think it’s going to be very hard to beat,” he said. “There’s been a very strong response, the tickets are selling so fast already. I think the VIP and ultra-VIP are the ones that are really hot right now. People are understanding that it’s a seven-day festival, and so they’re also booking the pre-events as well. We’re feeling very positive about the show and we expect things will only get better as we get closer to summer.”
Bogdanovich added that although the headline acts announced are crowd pullers, the entire Sumfest line-up will be enticing.
He explained that as the show date draws closer, he will have several surprise announcements.
“Both Friday night and Saturday night will be filled with great music from some great artistes,” he said. ‘I can’t reveal all the things I have in store just yet but just know that we have some surprises to come. Sumfest is keen on supporting young females so expect more women on the line-up this year. We’re also very supportive of young artistes. The growth of the music is what we will be supporting this year. It’s important to support the future in the present and that’s what we will do.”
The ‘dapper’ Reggae Sumfest Owner Josef Bogdanovich is honoured for his major contribution to Jamaica’s entertainment industry.
Illustrious guests gathered at The Gleaner’s North Street offices in Kingston yesterday for the first of three category luncheons to recognise this year’s recipients of the RJRGLEANER Honour Awards. Recipients, aglow with pride, exuded humility as they took the spotlight, reflecting on the year that was and offering a peak into the future.
Jamaican superstars Beres Hammond (left) and Beenie Man at Reggae Sumfest 2018.
It has been dubbed ‘The Greatest Reggae Show on Earth’ and for years, July has seen persons from home and abroad trek to Montego Bay, St James, for Reggae Sumfest, an experience like no other.
First held in 1993, Sumfest, over the years, presented patrons with three nights of live stage shows, namely, Dancehall Night and two international nights.
In 2016, Chairman of Downsound Entertainment Josef James Bogdanovich took over Reggae Sumfest and set out to revamp the show into what he called a music festival, featuring a week of parties and activities and a two-night show dubbed ‘Main Festival Nights One and Two’, with mainly dancehall and reggae artistes.
“We came up with the idea that we do have superstars here, we do have international stars here and that’s called reggae music and dancehall music. A lot of people at that time said, ‘That’s not going to work, you need international acts’. We did pretty good that year, 2016; the attendance was a lot higher than it was in the previous year and we got a lot of international fan base. It was a successful entry into the market,” Bogdanovich told The Gleaner.
He said that in 2017, the attendance in the venue doubled that of 2016, while the online viewers tripled. According to Bogdanovich, several million viewers looked at the Sumfest archives over the following weeks, and this was very encouraging for him.
“And then last year (2018), we kept raising the bar with production. A lot of people who came there last year said that they hadn’t been to Sumfest in, like, 10 years and coming back, they all enjoyed themselves.
“But we have always had international artistes there and we always have our eyes open for international acts, but we have got to make a business sense out of it and we certainly support our music, our festival and with promoting the youth.
“This year, we will be promoting a lot of the females and the younger artistes than ever before, and we have some good bookings right now,” said Bogdanovich.
Against that background, Reggae Sumfest 2018 is the recipient of this year’s RJRGLEANER Honour Awards in the entertainment category, for the success of its strategy to present an all-Jamaican line-up for the festival last year.
It is an award which Bogdanovich said was unexpected and one that he really appreciates.
“I was surprised to even hear about it. I have been pretty busy, and I think it’s great to be acknowledged. Acknowledgements don’t really come easy here in Jamaica and I think it’s just part of my journey here in Jamaica, and I think it’s wonderful. I am very thankful,” said Bogdanovich.
The Downsound boss said that while he is a big supporter of doing business in Jamaica, and has quite a few investments here, it’s not an easy place to do business, but his passion for the music and for Jamaica keeps him going.
“There’s opportunity here in Jamaica, (but) education has got to get better. The violence has to come down, (and) people have to understand that we have to get this place stable, and it’s getting better. I think things are a lot better; the economy is getting better and more people are working.
“There is always a challenge in the concert business here. There are very few concerts going on and I know that a lot of people are trying to get back into the concert business.
“It’s not an easy business, and people are fickle and they are not easy to please, but we really are champions and we love reggae music and we love the culture. Here at Downsound, we are very passionate about the music and what we represent, and it’s exciting,” said Bogdanovich.
He has a clear vision for the island that he now calls home.
According to Bogdanovich, he wants to see the continued growth of reggae and dancehall music, with young people contributing to the country instead of migrating.
“The way to get them to come back is to give them some real opportunity, and it’s hard because it’s a small country and the dollar is not worth as much as it used to be. It is just a hard struggle, so it’s the family structure that has to be strengthened.
“The reason why I think Jamaica can do so well in terms of the future is because Jamaicans are very competitive, and they are smart and they are overachievers, some of them,” declared Bogdanovich.
He added that he has a clear vision for the latest chapter in his life in Jamaica.
“I am trying to make a mark, trying to give opportunity to people, to give them some opportunity with good business practise, and do as much as I can for reggae music and for dancehall and for the artistes’ community. That’s what I’m interested in and that’s my vision for the future,” said Bogdanovich.
ON THE AWARD: “I think it’s great to be acknowledged. Acknowledgements don’t really come easy here in Jamaica and I think it’s just part of my journey here in Jamaica and I think it’s wonderful. I am very thankful.”
VISION FOR JAMAICA: “The reason why I think Jamaica can do so well in terms of the future is because Jamaicans are very competitive, and they are smart and they are overachievers, some of them.”
Caribbean Airlines to Sponsor Reggae SumFest and Reggae Girlz
Caribbean Airlines is the Official Airline of Reggae Girlz and Presenting Sponsor of Reggae SumFest
KINGSTON, Jamaica– Caribbean Airlines is strengthening its partnerships in Jamaica, and is now the Official Airline of the Reggae Girlz and the presenting sponsor of Reggae SumFest.
For the next two years Caribbean Airlines will be the presenting sponsor for “Reggae SumFest”. As an authentic Caribbean air carrier that is proudly owned by the people of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, this union represents a natural partnership of two of the region’s leading brands.
Reggae Sum Fest is the largest concert festival in Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines is the leading airline serving Jamaica and the Caribbean. We are proud to bring over 485,000 travellers to and from Jamaica annually.
Caribbean Airline CEO, Garvin Medera (R) and Senior Marketing Manager, Alicia Cabrera (L) with Josef Bogdanovich of Reggae SumFest.
This collaboration with Reggae SumFest is a significant milestone for Caribbean Airlines deepening our partnerships within Jamaica and throughout the region.
Caribbean Airlines is thrilled and feels privileged to be the Official Airline of the Reggae Girlz who created history by becoming the first Caribbean Team to reach the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This accomplishment was no small feat! Like Caribbean Airlines, the Reggae Girlz faced challenges but worked tenaciously to turn things around to deliver this historic result.
Caribbean Airlines CEO, Garvin Medera and members of the Senior Reggae Girlz football team.
Through this and other partnerships, Caribbean Airlines will strengthen our relationships within Jamaica and the region as a whole.
Caribbean Airlines does not take lightly its role as the leading air carrier serving the Caribbean and the critical part we play in supporting the communities we serve. We are behind the Reggae Girlz 100% and will support them on their journey to a successful World Cup next year!
The Reggae Sumfest small stage has introduced a few of the fiercest names in reggae and dancehall to a wide music-loving audience and has even acted as the platform to ‘buss big’. The list includes reggae entertainers Warrior King, Bushman and Shenseea, who have graduated to the main stage following their appearances on the small stage.
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.
Josef Bogdanovich, CEO – Downsound Records, has adopted a more balanced lifestyle to do what he needs to get things done.
Balance seems to be the key to Josef ‘Joe’ Bogdanovich’s youthful energy, as he has adopted a more holistic approach to life. As the principal of Reggae Sumfest and Downsound Entertainment, Bogdanovich has had to reassess his lifestyle, especially as his schedule becomes full this time of year as the staging of the largest festival in the island approaches.
“When you travel the world, you see all sorts of people, and get to observe how some persons enjoy life more than others – it is not a question of money or poverty,” said Bogdanovich.
He added, “It’s a perspective – how you treat one another; more essentially, how you treat yourself. As you get more experienced, you just learn how important health is because with a sound body and a sound mind, you have more fun and more fun is what life is about.”
The business tycoon said that while in college, he was swayed towards eastern philosophy, which is a diverse body of ideas centred on understanding the process of the universe. According to Bogdanovich, although it was hard to understand Confucianism, he grasped that the key lesson was about maintaining a balance.
“And Jamaicans and Rastafarians always talk about balance; and in entertainment, it means a lot of different things,” he said. “For a deejay, balance means let me talk balance, but in terms of holistic health, it means to be able to get the ying and the yang – the left side and right of your brain, the unconscious and subconscious; everything, including emotions, in order.”
The Downsound CEO endured losing his partner three years ago, and although he mourned privately, it has had an obvious effect on the way he views life. He expressed that when an individual experiences an accident, or some type of misfortune, then a different perceptive arises.
“It may be cliche, but it is true – when a person is younger they think they are infallible, with so much energy and exceptional amount of hormones (not that I don’t have a tonne of that), but what’s happened is that I can change my body and habits to become more youthful-looking,” he said.
He says this involves his daily routine that always includes at least 45 minutes in the gym – this is after breakfast, and joking around with his seven-year-old son, where he always has a bowl of rice ball cereal and almond milk.
“Exercise is critical. You should do it every day so you can work harder, last longer and clear your mind. This then makes it easier to do the work, but sometimes it is hard because I don’t have the time to exercise and as a result, it takes me a lot longer to get things done and I don’t have as much patience.”
He admitted that the Reggae Sumfest period makes him slightly negligent with his exercise routine. “I am a little sloppy with the stress from just planning the show,” he said.
During the planning and execution stages of the festival, it becomes a lot more challenging, as it poses a change in his sleeping and eating habits. Rather than getting up at four in the morning, Bogdanovich says he is getting to bed at that hour.
“Worse than junk food is eating food late and going to bed right after. That’s how you put on the weight. You are what you eat. You have to find balance.”
It’s easy to get consumed by the humdrum of a packed workday, paying bills, meeting company executives and fulfilling endless responsibilities, so much so that personal health and caring gets forgotten. But Bogdanovich says with his balanced lifestyle, he is finding more happiness to wake another day, even as the festival presents longer days and eventful nights.
Organisers of Reggae Sumfest say there will not be any major increase in the number of police personnel for its Friday and Saturday night shows at the Catherine Hall Stadium this year.
“We are using just about the same or a little bit more (police officers) than last year,” Robin Russell, who is in charge of security, told the WESTERN STAR. “Sumfest has never really had a security problem, and we don’t foresee any issues, especially with less crime in and around Montego Bay.”
According to Russell, the Area One police headquarters usually handles the police deployment with approximately 130 per night, who are selected from the four parishes.
“Anywhere from 100 to 150 security officers will be deployed at the venue per night,” he said.
For the events prior to the two main nights, about 20 police officers will be assigned to each.
The one-week reggae and dancehall music festival is set to unfold in the western resort city of Montego Bay from July 15 to 21.
It will be held under the extended state of public emergency, which organisers had earlier indicated would not affect the regular early morning closing hours of the live shows.
Reggae Sumfest is much more than just the entertainment and limelight for many people like Hermine Shaw of St James.
Shaw will tell you that the food is also equally one of the biggest highlights of the ‘Greatest Reggae Show on Earth’.
For the past 26 years, Shaw has been at the helm of homestyle cooking on the main nights of the summer festival held at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.
Her food stall, branded under the household name ‘Hermine Homestyle’, is a godsend for the thousands of local and international patrons who come out each year looking to chow down on Jamaican mouthwatering dishes.
“My cooking is homestyle, and I do everything like rice and peas, brown stew, curry stew peas, oxtail, ackee and salt fish, salt mackerel, soup, shrimp, conch, and more,” Shaw told the WESTERN STAR.
“People look forward to me every year because they know my stall and know that I cook nothing but good and tasty food. I have people from Canada that come every year for them oxtail,” she added.
Shaw explained that last year’s staging was one of the best as she had more customers than she was able to provide service for.
A second stall
No doubt that she is now looking forward to the upcoming staging, and she has brought in her son in to operate a second stall.
“I came to Reggae Sumfest off of Sunsplash, and over the years until now, I have always lived good with the promoters. I work with their system and do my business, and I was able to put both my daughter and son through school and college, assist my grandchildren …,” said Shaw, who is also a taxi operator.
“So Reggae Sumfest did a lot for me. It keeps me alive,
motivates me, and I plan for it every year. I appreciate the promoters, and I thank them very much. I thank them a lot for what they have done for me and what I do for myself,” she added.
As the iconic Reggae Sumfest prepares for it’s 27th staging, it will be introducing a new layout and more activities for patrons between sets.
This includes a food court by Grace Foods. The brand partnered with long time sponsor Red Stripe to present an exclusive tasting party on Sunday as a preview for the festival.
Guests were greeted to a well-decorated venue, music and food, food and more food as the company crafted a variety of pasta dishes, wings, steamed fish and more to wet the appetites of veteran Sumfest-goers. The food was complemented by a fully loaded Red Stripe bar stocked with beers and an assortment of Grace lifestylee drinks.
Red Stripe will once again be a presenting sponsor for Reggae Sumfest, which will take place in Montego Bay from Sunday, July 15th to Saturday, July 21st.