When it was announced that Buju Banton, Beres Hammond and Chronixx were the headliners for this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest, the reaction from the public spoke volumes as to the amount of support the festival would receive this year.
With just over two months to go before the event gets under way, checks with several hotels in the parish of St James have revealed that most of the rooms have been fully booked until the end of July.
Reggae Sumfest’s chief organiser, Joe Bogdanovich, believes there is a direct link between the festival’s line-up and the sold-out hotels.
Pointing out that ticket sales have been going well, Bogdanovich said that he thinks the Beres, Buju and Chronixx combination is one of the main reasons hotels have been booked out this early in the season.
“Reggae Sumfest is usually a sold-out show. Hotels in the Montego Bay area usually see an increase in bookings around the period the show is being held, but this year, I know for sure the demand has been greater,” he said.
“I am not surprised some people can’t get hotel rooms right now, because based on the ticket sales, the demand for the show this year has been overwhelming. It is the best I’ve seen it since I took over the festival. I think the B.B.C line-up has a lot to do with it. Beres, Buju and Chronixx are three of the biggest artistes on the local music scene, and I think people really want to see them in action,” he said, adding that Beenie Man and Bounty Killer are expected to give legendary performances on the Friday night.
According to Bogdanovich, tickets for this year’s festival are going so well that he and his team are thinking of adding another section to the grounds to meet demands.
“I am now thinking of building a whole new seating area, and it’s gonna be called the Golden Triangle. It will be for the more luxurious crowd. But all that will be discussed in another week or less because we are in the designing phase right now. I think we’re attracting more people this year than any other year, and we want to be prepared for that.”
Bogdanovich’s points are supported by statistics presented by Delano Seiveright, senior adviser/strategist in the Ministry of Tourism.
Seiveright told THE WEEKEND STAR that he has already seen increases in the number of hotel bookings for this year compared to the same period last year. He also said there has been an increase in the number of tourists who have booked flights to the island this summer.
“It is important to note that seat capacity for the destination this summer is 1,400,371 which is 108,872 or 8.4% more than 2018. The biggest growth is from the United States, which shows an increase of over 100,000 seats for the summer period (May through August 2019), compared with the same period in 2018,” he said.
“Jamaica has been experiencing very strong growth in tourist arrivals in recent times. This as a result of the multiple strategies pursued by the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies. Sumfest this year is mega, and already many hotels and other accommodations are reporting very high bookings, some of which is attributed to Reggae Sumfest.”
And for those who are yet to book hotel rooms, Seiveright is encouraging them to explore the Airbnb option and look beyond Montego Bay for accommodation.
Last year, the “Work” hitmaker registered a new single titled “Phatty,” in which the Jamaican superstar, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie was credited as a writer.
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Online users have since expressed great enthusiasm for the collaborative track by the pair.
Sources close to Rihanna told Hype Life Magazine that the “Diamonds” singer has always been a huge fan of Buju Banton and will most likely be sampling the singer’s 1995 hit for her new Reggae album, which is slated to be released later this year.
Another source indicated that she was interested in getting fresh vocals from his team.
Buju Banton, who was sentenced to 10 years for drug related charges, is set to be released on December 8.
Whilst no official collaborations have been announced, fans believe there is a strong possibility that artists Rihanna collaborated with on other projects in 2017 may well appear on her ninth album.
Last year Rihanna worked with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller on “Wild Thoughts” as well as with Calvin Harris on “This Is What You Came For,” Future with their project Selfish, Pharell on Lemon and Kendrick Lamar on LOYALTY.
Anti, the 30-year-old singer’s eighth studio album, was released in 2016 and was placed at number 32 in the UK end of year charts and five in the 2016 US Billboard 200.
4:11 pm, Mon March 18, 2019
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.”