Reggae Sumfest: The good, the bad and the muddy

Friday, July 30, 2010

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Reggae Sumfest 2010 has come and gone, but, as expected, there were moments of high and moments yet to be defined. We take a look at some, in no particular order.

Reggae 'Mudfest'

The year 2010 will go down in history as the year when the mud was the main protagonist. Thursday night, Dancehall Night was bad then it got worse and worst. It became the festival to which one wore chic water boots and 'mud shoes'. At $100.00 per pair, two scandal bags tied over your shoes wasn't such a bad way to spend the night. At least it helped to keep off the mud. Even R&B superstar, Usher, was sporting a pair when he made a surprise entry into the venue on International Night I to take in Chris Brown's performance.

And for those who didn't buy their 'mud shoes', there was another option. Upon exiting the venue, there was a mud-cleaner with his equipment -- buckets of water, rags and a huge stone. Simply place your foot on the stone and in no time the mud is cleaned off thoroughly. Hand the cleaner your $100.00 and be on your way. Have a great day.

The tribute to Sugar Minott

Tragicomedy at its best. Theatre of the absurd. Let's borrow the dreaded Chat! Red X and plaster it over that segment. Can you imagine, grown men -- veterans in the business -- jostling for one microphone and even appearing to elbow off each other, while professing to be paying respect to the late 'Bugga' Minott.

We expected that Jimmy Riley, Triston Palmer, Little John, Tony Tuff and Bongo Herman would have all been on stage at the same time in a show of unity, singing some of Sugar's greatest hits, but not so. Jimmy Riley -- ever the dapper -- strolled on first, did a nursery rhyme song that Sugar hardly ever sang and exited. Then the best of the tribute came on in the form of an angelic-white attired Bongo Herman doing Mr DC. And after that, the tribute just descended.

Word is that the tribute cost a cool $400,000.00. We still don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Dancers' Paradise at Reggae Sumfest

It was a Sumfest made for dancers. It seemed as if every major act, and some of the minor ones as well, had dancers involved in their set. Perhaps they were inspired by the fact that Usher and Chris Brown who are consummate entertainers renowned for their dancing ability were the festival's headliners. Clearly, gone are the days when an entertainer can just appear on stage and stand up and sing like they are doing an in-studio recording. This is the era of the triple threat and fans pay their money to be entertained and although sometimes the dancing distracted rather than enhanced some of the set, for the most part it went over well.

With the plethora of dance groups, individual dancers and video vixens around these days, it would be a progressive move for them to form some kind of union and set up some sort of rate structure rather than the ad hoc, fighting for videolight situation which now exists.

Media tent

Kudos to the organisers for providing a media tent that lived up to expectations. Internet access, comfortable spaces to conduct interviews and big screen view of the stage, all added to the overall enjoyment of the festival for media practitioners who were in from all over the globe. Yasmine Peru

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