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Sumfest, an int'l affair

Richard Johnson
Friday, July 20, 2012

THE organisers of this weekend's Reggae Sumfest are once again defending their decision to add foreign acts to the festival's line-up.

Over the years, the Reggae Sumfest stage has been graced by some of the most popular names in Rhythm and Blues and hip hop.

The list includes Lionel Richie, Kanye West, Nikki Minaj, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Usher, Destiny's Child, Rihanna, Missy Elliot Jazmine Sullivan, May J Blige, and Akon.

This year R&B star R Kelly and pop heartthrob Trey Songz are the acts brought in by the Sumfest team.

"R Kelly has a huge following here in Jamaica especially among the women, and they are the ones we notice who are buying the tickets to this year's show," Sumfest chairman Robert Russell told Splash.

He also rubbished the idea that because this is a reggae festival there is no place for other genres of music.

"People complain even though there are nearly 60 local and reggae acts and two foreign acts. This year, our acts from overseas, R Kelly and Trey Songz, share top billing with dancehall act Shabba Ranks, who has not performed locally for some time and Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley," he explained.

Russell said the inclusion of pop acts was strategic.

"We took the decision to add foreign acts to the line-up a few years ago as we realised that many Jamaicans did not have the opportunity to

see these acts. The likes of a Lionel Richie, Boyz II Men many can't afford to buy an airline ticket plus concert tickets so we bring the artistes to them here at Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay," he noted.

Russell said Trey Songz was already in the island while R Kelly arrives via private jet on Saturday morning.

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