Big things in store at Reggae Sumfest, says Skatta
Music executive and producer Cordel "Skatta" Burrell (left) with Joe Bogdanovich, CEO of DownSound Entertainment, producers of Sumfest. (Photo: Antonio Graham)

Music executive, producer and director of Reggae Sumfest Cordel "Skatta" Burrell says patrons can expect big things at this year's staging of the weeklong music festival.

"You can expect bigger and better things this year. We try to exceed the expectations and outdo ourselves each year," Burrell revealed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday night at the ROK Hotel in downtown Kingston.

Reggae Sumfest is scheduled to run from July 16-23 at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay. Among the acts confirmed thus far are Freddie McGregor and the Big Ship Crew, Romain Virgo, Valiant, Bayka, D'Yani, Masicka, Jah Vinci, Gyptian, Tanya Stephens, Tommy Lee Sparta, Minister Marion Hall, Richie Spice, Morgan Heritage, Chronic Law, and Grammy-winner Kabaka Pyramid.

There will be a tribute to legendary producer and sound system operator Lloyd "King Jammy" James, which features performances by Leroy Gibbons, Admiral Bailey, Stitchie, Pinchers, Bunny General, Chaka Demus, and Chuck Turner.

Another segment dubbed BoomBox 90s Badness will see the likes of former Scare Dem Crew members Boom Dandimite and Harry Toddler, General B, Mega Banton, Jigsy King, Tony Curtis, Nitty Kutchie, and Silver Cat in performance.

Since DownSound Entertainment took over the staging of Reggae Sumfest, international acts have been missing from the line-up of the festival. Asked if this will change any time soon, Burrell said: "I mean this is Jamaica and we'd like to see the diversity; its Reggae Sumfest, but hip hop is part of the dancehall/reggae culture. We can look forward to that [inclusion of foreign acts] in the near future. After DownSound took over Reggae Sumfest we decided to go the part of the culture to show the importance of putting our music first. So, we've done that for four to five years. Who knows, maybe in 2024 we might see some overseas acts," Burrell reasoned.

He spoke about showcasing young and up-and-coming acts on the Reggae Sumfest stage.

"I have a special love and respect for young acts. I was a young music producer as well and it's because I got opportunities from people in the spotlight why I was able to showcase my talent. Sumfest is right now at the head of the stream, and we have taken it upon ourselves to give these youths an opportunity to perform on this big platform," said Burrell.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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