DownSound has big plans for Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex

DownSound has big plans for Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex

Sunday, May 31, 2020

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DownSound Entertainment (DSE) Ltd is promising, among other things, “state-of-the-art” amenities at Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay, should it be successful in its bid to secure a long-term concession to operate the venue.

DownSound, in a news release, said that it had already applied to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) , owners of the St James property that has been the home of Jamaica's number one music festival, Reggae Sumfest, to run the event there for several more years than the four it has gone so far.

However, DownSound said that the current configuration of the venue was not maximising its revenue generation potential, and in response to a request from the UDC, it had documented proposals to the State agency, which, if accepted, would redound to the benefit of Jamaica as a whole, as the new Catherine Hall amenities would serve as “critical generators of tourism and entertainment-related revenues”.

DownSound announced recently that it would cancel this year's staging of Reggae Sumfest due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has not only affected daily life in Jamaica, but had caused severe dislocation in global economies. The company said at the time that the safety of its patrons, staff, and service providers was of paramount importance, and that it would work hard to stage a successful staging in 2021, while keeping all the stakeholders updated on subsequent developments related to the festival.

“We believe that the current one-year break should give us a chance to make the necessary long-term improvements to the venue,” said DownSound Chief Executive Officer Joe Bogdanovich.

“This development will have implications far beyond the staging of Reggae Sumfest. This of course is contingent on our being successful in negotiations with the Urban Development Corporation. DSE has had a history with Catherine Hall and would definitely want to make a massive investment in its redevelopment. The last call, however, is not with us, it is with the Government and the UDC,” the DownSound head said.

Bogdanovich stated that the upgrading of the venue will provide business opportunities and employment for residents of Montego Bay and its environs throughout the year. It will serve, too, he said, as a venue offering “turn key” operations for other events both proprietary and independent.

“Many patrons of the festival are aware that the current capacity at Catherine Hall is inadequate for the continued staging of major events. Considerable expansion of the venue will be required if it is to remain the home of Reggae Sumfest and the venue for other major festivals. We had to turn back patrons at the gates on both nights of the festival in 2019 as the venue was unable to accommodate any more people,” the DownSound CEO said.

The global marketing of Reggae Sumfest has secured hundreds of millions of audience impressions from its advertising campaigns, and live streaming over the past four years which has resulted in significant increases in overseas visitor arrivals and foreign exchange earnings for Jamaica.

Bogdanovich stressed his love for Montego Bay, adding that he would like to continue the current path of ascension in keeping Reggae Sumfest at its current location.


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