Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2018 | Shereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
For the first time in the festival’s 26-year history, Reggae Sumfest will be going cashless. The announcement was made yesterday morning at Downsound Entertainment’s headquarters on Belmont Road, New Kingston. Sumfest has partnered with global payments giant Mastercard, so come July 15-22, patrons will be able to make purchases at all the different facilities set up at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay.
The Sumfest team explained that with the global technological environment experiencing continued expansion, it is only fitting that a world-renowned festival get with the times. “My mission is to continue to push the envelope in terms of technology, as we’ve done with our live streaming and now the partnership with Mastercard to enter a cashless environment, which is where the world is and where the rest of the world is catching up to,” said Downsound’s Joe Bogdanovich. “For me, in order for us to continue the growth of Reggae Sumfest and compete with the best festivals in the world, we need international sponsors, and it’s great that Mastercard has jumped on board.”
In their official press release about the partnership, Bogdanovich expressed a desire to work with the Mastercard team on a long-term basis. Yesterday, Uhriel Bedoya, Mastercard country manager for Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Bermuda, said “Partnering with Sumfest is tremendous, because we meant it when we said we are committed to Jamaica as a market. Our partnership with Sumfest is just the beginning, so stay tuned. We don’t make commitments on one-year basis or short term, we are looking to make longer-term commitments, so this is a way to start our Jamaican journey. For us, Sumfest is about the experience, and we want to make sure the attendees at Sumfest have a seamless experience from the moment they acquire their tickets.” While supplies last, Sumfest tickets purchased with a Mastercard at any of the outlets will see the buyer obtain a 20 per cent discount.
Safety also played a role in Sumfest’s decision to go cashless. Not keen on speaking too much on the crime situation and the state of emergency – or enhanced security measures – currently on in St James, the Sumfest organisers explained that cashless is a way they can help to ensure patrons have a safe experience. “We know how it is sometimes; you don’t want the security risk of having a lot of cash on you. We are working with the cashless environment, so you don’t have to walk with cash at all. We are also doing it so that if you don’t have enough cash, you have your card,” explained marketing consultant for Reggae Sumfest, Marcia McDonnough.
She also revealed that with the introduction of a Sumfest Mall, this year, the shopping experience patrons are accustomed to will be maximised. “We’ve always had vendors at the festival, but this is the first year we will have them set up in a mall-like setting. The way we are presenting them this year is a bit different, and the major difference is that we will be accepting cards in these areas,” she said. “We will be making sure we have those credit card machines all over the venue, anywhere you will need to make a purchase, if it’s drinks, more tickets at the venue, the food court and the mall.”