Tag: reggae

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High Expectations For Sumfest 2019

Published: Thursday | May 16, 2019 | Janet Sivera – Gleaner Writer
Royalton’s Stayce Ingram (left), Island Strains’ Christopher Gordon and his wife Maria, were spotted out and about with the effervescent Richard Ferdinand of the Tryall Club (right).
Royalton’s Stayce Ingram (left), Island Strains’ Christopher Gordon and his wife Maria, were spotted out and about with the effervescent Richard Ferdinand of the Tryall Club (right).

Unlike previous years where the launch of Reggae Sumfest took place inside a conference room or an amphitheatre in Montego Bay, the promoters took to the beach for the 2019 launch of the Reggae music festival.

The stretch of sparkling white sand of the Iberostar resort in Rose Hall, formed the perfect setting, delighting the scores of Montegonians and their counterparts from Kingston and other places who streamed into the venue for an evening characterised by delicious Jamaican faire, dancehall music and a cocktail bar, where bartenders served up juices and concoctions made from some of the most sought-after top shelf liquors.

Head honcho, Joseph Bagdanovich of Downsound Entertainment, was his usual upbeat self, heaping praises during his address on Sumfest founders Johnny Gourzong, Godfrey Dyer, Robert Russell, Mickey Morris, whom he said, along with their other collaborators made a “great team”.

“The joy it brings to fans across the world is more than enough to make you want to do it all over again as long as you can, and for this I give thanks,” Bagdanovich said.

Bogdanovich also disclosed that a new section dubbed the Golden Triangle, will now become a feature of the festival, which according to Scatta Burell, would host the festival’s most honoured guests.

“It’s gonna be at the top of the top; it’s gonna hold maybe 50, 60, 70 people and it’s gonna be the bomb,” Bogdanovich said.

Reggae Sumfest will be staged in Montego Bay from July 14 to 20. The event gets underway with Mawnin Medz Beach Party, marshalled by Stylo G and Skinny Fabulous at Tropical Beach, followed by the Street Dance at the Old Hospital Park on the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard on Monday, closing out with the likes of Buju Banton and Beres Hammond on Saturday, July 20.

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Sumfest Takes Flight

Published:Saturday | March 30, 2019 |

Caribbean Airlines on Wednesday showcased its partnership as the presenting sponsor of Reggae Sumfest by unveiling the festival’s logo on one of its 737 aircraft. The aircraft will fly across the airline’s network of 20 destinations.

“As one of the world’s best reggae events, Reggae Sumfest is a perfect match for our new brand story, ‘The Caribbean Identity’, which is an affirmation of our shared heritage and culture. Music is a big part of the Caribbean, and our partnership with Sumfest is a perfect way for us to demonstrate how deeply we understand the passion points of the Caribbean,” said Garvin Medera, CEO of Caribbean Airlines.

“As Reggae Sumfest continues to chart a new course for Jamaican music, culture and festivals, we couldn’t be happier to have a partner like Caribbean Airlines, who will help take this brand to a new level,” said Josef Bogdanovich, CEO, Downsound Entertainment, the festival’s producer.

Over seven days, July 14 to 20, more than 40 of reggae and dancehall’s most celebrated performers will take the Reggae Sumfest stage at Catherine Hall and other venues in Montego Bay, St James. Caribbean Airlines is offering a discount of 10 per cent off flights to Montego Bay and Kingston from select destinations for customers who book by April 15, for travel between the 12th and 22nd of July.

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Buju will be ‘amazing’ at Sumfest – Bogdanovich

March 20, 2019
 Buju Banton

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.”

ENTICING LINE-UP

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.”

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Damian Marley had the Sumfest crowd hooked with lively performance

Damian Marley performs at Reggae Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)Damian Marley performs at Reggae Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley had the Catherine Hall crowd hooked for just over one hour with a energetic performance at Reggae Sumfest on Sunday morning,

It was Marley at his best as he engaged the crowd constantly and had audience members lapping up every minute of his set which also saw him showing off his fitness with knee lifts as he celebrated his 40th birthday,

Numbering in the tens of thousands, the Catherine Hall crowd sang loudly to almost all of Junior Gong’s presentations that included samples from hits by his father, late reggae legend Bob Marley.

Marley’s son Elijah perfoms ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ in tribute to his father who turned 40 on Saturday.

Marley’s performance also included songs from his last album ‘Stony Hill’ which earlier this year beat an illustrious field to cop the Reggae Grammy. It was not limited though, with music from his previous works.

The audience was also treated to a touching moment when Marley’s son Elijah joined him on stage and sang Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, dedicating the song to his father, whose birthday was on Saturday.

Marley had opened his set with ‘Here We Go’ from the Stony Hill album before going into his combination with Skrillex, ‘Make It Bun Dem’, ‘Set Up Shop’, ‘Ghetto Youth’ and another combination, ‘Beautiful’ with Bobby Brown.

Marley would then talk about the healing benefits of ganja before doing ‘Medication’, ‘The Mission’, ‘Police And Thief Inna Shoot’ and ‘Love And Unity’.

Kabaka Pyramid joined Junior Gong on stage.

His father’s ‘War’ and ‘Exodus’ would follow before ‘Everybody Wants To Be Somebody’ and ‘A Man Is Just A Man’ .

Kabaka Pyramid joined Marley on stage for their combination, ‘Kontraband’, after which ‘Junior Gong’ performed ‘Living It Up’, a song celebrating his father’s victory over poverty and inspiring others in similar circumstances to do the same.

He once again had the audience singing along to ‘Road To Zion’ and the ever-popular ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ with which he closed his well-received set.

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Twenty three years romance with Reggae Sumfest

July 20, 2018
Italian Steve Giant (left) poses with dancehall ace Shabba Ranks at a previous staging of Reggae Sumfest.

When Reggae Sunsplash folded in Montego Bay after its 1992 staging, Italian newspaper publisher Steve Giant, a loyal fan of that festival, was left a disappointed man, as making the annual trek to Jamaica had become an integral part of his life.

However, Giant’s disappointment was short-lived as in 1995, he learnt that Reggae Sumfest had replaced Reggae Sunsplash on the Montego Bay entertainment calendar and since then, he has been travelling to Jamaica for the past 23 years to satisfy his passion for reggae music and his growing love for Jamaica.

“My first Reggae Sumfest experience was in 1995. Basically, it’s been 23 years without interruption,” said Giant.

Over the years, it has not only been Reggae Sumfest that has been pulling the big Italian, who also manages a radio station, the Radio Base Popolare Network, which broadcasts reggae from morning to evening.

“I love the music, the parties, the beach… the Jamaican way of life style. That’s why I come back every year,” said Giant.

“Unfortunately, there’s no reggae festival like Reggae Sumfest in Italy … we had a big one, but they moved it to Spain.”

Despite not having a major reggae festival in Italy, Giant says reggae is nonetheless quite big in his homeland. He sees his popular magazine, RASTA SNOB, which he has been producing for more than 30 years, as one of the vehicles driving the growth of the music.

While each new year at Reggae Sumfest gives giant fresh “emotions, sensations, vibrations,” there are some special memories that have not dimmed over time.

“Definitely Shabba Ranks arriving by helicopter,” said Giant, in reflecting on Shabba’s spectacular arrival by helicopter at the venue back in the 1990s. “I also enjoy the clash in music between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, and the many international artistes who have duet with the Jamaican top artistes.”

Like many fans of Reggae Sumfest, Giant is mightily impressive by this year’s star-studded line-up and has identified several acts he can’t wait to see.

“I am looking forward to seeing Damian Marley, Cham, Capleton, Sizzla, Assassin, Beres Hammond, Raging Fyah,” said Giant.

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MoBay designated special entertainment district for Sumfest

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asked the security forces to consider special operational plans to facilitate this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest without undermining the State of Public Emergency in St. James.
Speaking in the House of Representatives Tuesday, Mr. Holness said the government has designated a special entertainment district in Montego Bay.
The Prime Minister said there will be some leeway until the festival ends on July 22.
This is aimed at facilitating the extended operations of some establishments for Sumfest in this district. These include clubs and fast food restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets and other places offering goods for sale.
He noted that consideration will also be given to persons in the St. Catherine North Police Division which is under a State of Public Emergency.
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Sumfest Street Dance rocks Old Hospital Park    Okoye Henry

July 18, 2018
Okoye Henry photo Scenes from Reggae Sumfest Street Dance.
The relaxing and leisurely landscape of the Old Hospital Park in Montego Bay had its temperature ramped up with the inaugural Reggae Sumfest Street Dance on Monday.

It was an explosion of entertainment and activity as the aesthetically pleasing coastal venue delivered on the second night of the festival, bringing together hundreds of local patrons and their international guests.

DJ Noah Powa got the crowd jumping in the early hours of the evening as party enthusiasts made their way into the free event and were greeted by good food and drink, prizes, surprises and tons of giveaways.

In addition, Jamaica’s rich heritage was front and centre showcasing the finest cultural cosmetics, clothing and treats to the delight of tourists.

Dancehall top selectors Ikel Marvlus and Flabba Dabba of Team Shella took to the set later on and had fans dancing up a storm with hits such as Elephant Man’s Signal the Plane, Vybz Kartel’s Life Is What You Make It and Tommy Lee’s Money Make Friend.

The event also rolled out the red carpet to local celebrities such as Orville Hall and his Dance Xpressionz team; Dancing Dynamite finalists, Anchovy High; and even Reggae Sumfest’s principal and CEO of DownSound Record, Joe Bogdanovich.

“Reggae Sumfest 2018 is bigger and better than ever and it is going to be a lot of joy and togetherness with great music and great art,” said Bogdanovich.

“We are bringing a whole new level of entertainment in Jamaica. There are hundreds of people here at the street dance party. The vibes is good and it is all about reggae and dancehall. I feel good about it,” he added.

One patron, Jevaughn Brown, described the event as an amazing night of good fun and entertainment.

“It was great to see so many people come out, including tourists, with their family and friends to enjoy this wonderful experience,” said Brown.

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Grace Previews Its Sumfest Line-Up

Thursday, July 12, 2018

From left: butter almond festivals, sweet and spicy buffalo wings and Scotch bonnet buttered sweet corn (Photos: Karl McLarty

On Sunday, July 8, Grace Kitchens in conjunction with Downsound Entertainment previewed some of the items that the brand will serve in the food hall at Reggae Sumfest between July 15 and 22. Executed by Christian Sweeney, executive chef, Fuzion Food Services, the menu showcased some of Grace’s best items. The Red Stripe bar was stocked with sorrel, lemon paradise, light and original Red Stripe beers; Grace coconut water, Tropical Rhythms, D&G sodas and Catherine’s Peak water.

Guests mingled in the courtyard of Downsound HQ while noshing on an array of fare. On offer was a selection of pasta, meat, fish and side dishes. There were Grace tuna and sweetcorn pasta, Grace jerk chicken pasta and Grace jerk veggie pasta. Sweet and spicy buffalo wings, jerk pan hot dogs and jerk stuffed whole snapper. Rounding out the meal were butter almond festivals and Scotch bonnet buttered sweet corn.

The pasta had an expertly made béchamel — it was creamy, had a mild jerk flavour and the veggies and the chicken were fresh and well-cooked. The hot dogs (marinated in jerk seasoning) were very appetising but would have been a sure knockout were the buns toasted or steamed. The wings were very yummy and Thursday Food broke all the rules of etiquette by licking its fingers; they were that good. The stuffed snapper, roasted whole in aluminium foil, was filled with fresh herbs, earthy callaloo and al dente carrots. However, it would have benefited from being served fresh off the grill as the butter began to congeal in the foil wrapper.

The corn was flavourful and slick with butter. And, just when you thought you’ve had every variation of festival there is, Chef Sweeney turns up with a buttered almond version. Nuanced with nutty flavour and perfectly fried, you’ll want the recipe.

As a parting gift, guests were given an insulated cup and a VIP pass that entitles them to unlimited soup and one full meal from Grace on any Sumfest night of their choosing.

This sneak peek of Grace’s Sumfest food offerings along with ice-cold Red Stripe was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Hermine Shaw serving up good food at Sumfest

July 10, 2018
Hermine Shaw

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.

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