Sumfest gets makeover
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter email@example.com
Come July, Reggae Sumfest will celebrate its 25th anniversary, and current promoter Downsound Entertainment is planning a special week of events to commemorate the milestone.
Downsound boss Josef Bogdanovich has extended the activities surrounding the annual summer reggae festival to a whole week from July 16-22. The week-long festival of Jamaican culture encapsulates signature live concerts, Sumfest sound clash, a variety of parties, food, and craft at multiple venues across the second city, Montego Bay.
“Primarily, we just want to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival. We are all excited about making the anniversary a really special deal, so we are adding a few more events to make it a whole experience while maintaining the two nights of live shows. Reggae is more than music; it’s a movement, an experience. That experience extends beyond the festival to countless of Montegonian entrepreneurs, hotels, restaurants and other businesses,” Bogdanovich told Jamaica Observer.
The event kicks off on Sunday, July 16 with a beach party and moves into the Sumfest Sunset Yacht Party on Monday, July 17. The staple all-white party at Pier One happens on Tuesday, July 18, followed by Sumfest Blitz on Wednesday, July 19. On Thursday, July 20, Pier One will play host to the exciting Sumfest Heavy Weight Clash. The culmination of events will be at Catherine Hall on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 with the pulsating rhythms of music and Jamaican culture.
Bogdanovich and his team took over the event last year, converting it to a reggae and dancehall music event and dropping the international acts which had become a staple under the original organiser, Summerfest Productions.
He told the Observer he would take a watch-and-see attitude as it relates to keeping the one-week format after this year’s staging, and declined to comment on whether or not there will be any international acts this year.
“Like I said, we are just making sure the anniversary is a good one. We want people, especially tourists, to come in and enjoy Montego Bay for a week, so we are starting early with the promotions in the US. After this year, we will see how it goes and decide. The plan is to make Sumfest a festival of international standards, so that is what we are really working at. As soon as we decide on the artistes, we will let you know,” he said.
“The concept of Our Music, Our Festival appeals to the worldwide community eager to share in Jamaican experience. Jamaica is infectious,” Bogdanovich continued.