Key Summerfest director quits
A key director of Summerfest Productions Limited, organisers of the annual Reggae Sumfest stage show, has resigned and said the popular festival may not be staged next year.
Businessman Johnny Gourzong, who has been the backbone of the annual festival for the last six years, tendered his resignation to company chairman, Godfrey Dyer, earlier this month.
“For the time being I have to give thoughts to other interests, as between April and August each year I have no time for my business,” Gourzong told the Observer.
He said the production of the festival has always been good, but it continues to suffer from a lack of good returns.
“When you spend $38 million and get only $2 million profit, that is not enough,” Gourzong said.
Summerfest directors have long complained of the lack of sponsorship for the event and it is for this reason that Gourzong theorised that the festival may not be held next year.
“If the sponsorship support is not forthcoming, it may not be held next year,” he said.
He maintained that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) should play a greater role in promoting the festival, given its revenue earning potential.
“We need the JTB to sign off on the event from November, when we submit our proposals and not in May,” the former director said.
Meanwhile sources told the Observer that some persons within Summerfest Productions Limited want changes to be made to the festival.
Among the changes suggested by some is the reduction in the number of nights the festival is hosted. This, they said, should help make the festival more profitable and reduce the company’s estimated $20 million debt.
Gourzong, meanwhile, said the planning needed to be greater and that the JTB with its many overseas offices as well as marketing and public relations personnel can help in this regard.
And chairman of Summerfest Productions Limited, Godfrey Dyer, has downplayed the effect of Gourzong’s resignation.
“Anybody can afford to resign cause there is nothing happening at this time,” Dyer told the Observer.
He said that even though he had not withdrawn his resignation, Gourzong was recently involved in a meeting of the directors that was held about a week ago.
The resignation, Dyer said, might have been triggered by the arguments of someone within the organisation.
“Someone did or said something that upset him,” Dyer said.
But Gourzong said his decision had nothing to do with anyone within the company.
“I don’t know what next year will hold, but for right now I have to do my business,” he said.
There are eight directors of Summerfest Productions Limited and 20 shareholders in the company.
Dyer said the company continues to service its debts and was hopeful that outstanding amounts would be cleared up soon.