Director of Reggae Sumfest Robert Russell says the 30-year-old music festival has experienced significant growth since its first staging in 1993.
Russell made the declaration in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on the weekend.
"Sumfest has grown exponentially over these past 29 years. Every year we get better and better, and our production continues to improve, and now it is rated at First World quality," said Russell.
Reggae Sumfest was first held at the Bob Marley Entertainment Centre in Catherine Hall and was promoted by Summerfest Productions.
The festival was sold to DownSound Records in 2016.
Several international and local acts have graced the Reggae Sumfest stage throughout the years.
Russell said it was difficult to name a single major highlight of the festival.
"It's hard to pick out one highlight, but performances from Lionel Richie, Beyonce with Destiny's Child, Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, and Usher stand out indelibly in my memories of Reggae Sumfest," Russell disclosed.
He pointed to the fact that several businesses, both large and small, have benefited from the staging of Reggae Sumfest each year. From hairdressers to barbers, guest houses, villas, hotels, and vendors, the music festival provides a significant boom to the economy.
Asked what the budget was to stage the very first event 30 years ago, Russell said, "If my memory serves me well the first staging of Reggae Sumfest was a little over $1 million. But don't hold me to that as that was 29 years ago and memories sometimes get hazy over these many years."
Russell cited hard work and perseverance for the survival of the festival over the years.
"What has kept the festival going is hard work, perseverance and an abiding faith that if we were able to maintain the high standards that we set at the onset of Sumfest. A first-rate line-up... then our patrons would always continue to support us," said Russell.
Magnum Tonic Wine is one of the major sponsors of this year's staging of Reggae Sumfest. Under this partnership, the brand aims to further enhance the global reach of reggae and dancehall music.
Kamal Powell, regional marketing manager, Magnum Tonic Wine, is optimistic for the success resulting from this event.
"Dancehall is in our DNA, and as the official drink of dancehall Magnum promises a most unparalleled display of gratifying entertainment. Through this partnership we can show our consumers that we are committed to the maintenance and enhancement of our culture, which is demonstrated through our support of emerging talents" stated Powell.
A few weeks ago, Magnum Tonic Wine launched its Top Performa competition. The lyrical, face-off style competition has attracted many talented underground artistes who will contend for a chance to be crowned the 'Top Performa' and the opportunity to be on the Reggae Sumfest stage.
Reggae Sumfest is scheduled to run July 16-22. The events include a Family Fun Day and Community Fest at Catherine Hall Stadium (July 16), Street Dance at the Old Hospital Park (July 17), All-White Party on July 18 at Pier One, Blitz Party on July 19 at Harbour City featuring Frisco Kid and friends, Global Sound Clash on July 20 at Pier One Car Park.
The main performances are scheduled for July 21 and 22 with the likes of Tommy Lee Sparta, Valiant, Masicka, Chronic Law, Gyptian, Jah Vinci, 450, Bayka, Moyann, Pablo YG, Roze Don, Kabaka Pyramid, Minister Marion Hall, Freddie McGregor, Richie Spice, Romain Virgo, D'Yani, Tanya Stephens among others.