Reggae Sumfest launched in St James

Observer West reporter

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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ROSE HALL, St James — If last week's rollicking Sumfest 2019 launch party here at the Iberostar Hotel is anything to go by, then fans attending this year's staging of the festival, from July 14 to 20, should be in for a musical treat.

Fast-rising dancehall act Shane E brought a taste of what to expect from him at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre during the festival in his well-received cameo performance, during which he delivered Gone Sleep, Blessings a Flow and Jah a Watch over Me.

His fellow Montego Bay-based artistes, Ricky Teetz, Mister Chumps and Keneil Merital, also gave good account of themselves. So did Shauna Chyn.

Festival organiser, Joe Bogdanovich, expressed his commitment to staging the festival.

“Although at times it [Sumfest] can be challenging, the joy it brings to the fans across the world is more than enough to make you want to do it over and over again, for as long as you can. And for this, I give thanks,” the flamboyant Bogdanovich expressed.

He noted that since taking control of the reggae festival three years ago, it has been viewed by over a billion fans across the globe.

“Since acquiring the brand in 2016, the festival has reached over a billion people. With artistes performance videos uploading to YouTube instantly after each performance is a feat that we pioneered three years ago, and now we have the biggest reggae festival in the world,” Bogdanovich claimed.

During his brief remarks, he lauded founders of the festival, Johnny Gourzong, Godfrey Dyer, Robert Russell, Micky Morris, and recognised sponsors, including new kids on the block, Caribbean Airlines, for their support.

Acting general manager for Caribbean Airlines, Trudy Chin, noted that the airline is proud to be on board.

“The team at Caribbean Airlines is proud and very excited to join with Downsound Entertainment for what is undoubtedly one of the most important events in Jamaica's cultural tapestry,” Chin expressed.

Tourism Director Donovan White commended Bogdanovich and his team “for the work they've been doing to promote music tourism and with the expansion of the festival to a week-long format”.

“By expanding the event, the festival is providing a great opportunity for the city to benefit significantly, through strengthening our community, promoting our culture, honouring our history and further driving business and awareness of the destination,” White sated in a message read by Odette Dyer, Jamaica Tourist Board, western regional director.

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