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All set for SUMFEST

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter
Friday, July 13, 2012

ORGANISERS of Reggae Sumfest are pleased with the way things have progressed for this year's staging of the popular festival.

According to the festival's chairman Robert Russell, plans for the July 15-21 event are more advanced than they have ever been in its 20-year history.

"We have had no real challenges this year. All our vending stalls have been taken, the grounds are being prepared, stage, lighting and sound are ready and all the artistes have been booked," Russell told Splash.

He further noted that organisers are also comfortable with the line-up.

Russell refuted the suggestion that the roster of artistes is weak, citing that dancehall night, on July 19, will feature what he described as the "who's who of the local dancehall scene" .

Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado, Cham, Konshens and Romain Virgo are among the artistes confirmed.

"Every year there is a challenge. When we are not hampered by the touring schedules of the artistes it is the expensive fees being requested by the artistes," Russell explained.

"We did pretty well this year. Shabba Ranks seems to be a big hit, R Kelly is definitely gathering momentum, Trey Songz is there for the younger patrons and, of course, Damian Marley is doing well, thanks to his two current hit songs," he added.

Reggae Sumfest was first staged in 1993 following the departure of Reggae Sunsplash from the resort city of Montego Bay.

Since its inception, Sumfest has showcased a number of high-profile pop acts.

Among them Lionel Richie, Kanye West, Rihanna, Missy Elliot and Destiny's Child. Last year, hip hop's current poster girl, Nikki Minaj, was the feature act.

Russell described Reggae Sumfest as Montego Bay's greatest event, noting that the city is abuzz with just two days before it starts with the traditional pipe-opener at Aquasol Beach Park.

"Flights are already coming in, the hotels are filling up and the vibe is already building," said Russell.

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