Joe gives Sumfest thumbs up
Bounty Killer (foreground) belts out the lyrics to one of his many hit songs while Beenie Man (right) looks on. (Photos: Karl Mclarty)

EXECUTIVE producer of Reggae Sumfest, Joe Bogdanovich is citing this year's staging of the festival as being the most challenging in all his years, but overall he is pleased with the results.

The two nights of performances marked the festival's return in its original format, which had been on hiatus for the past two years due to COVID-19.

Friday's dancehall night presentation saw a capacity audience inside the Catherine Hall venue in Montego Baym with a favourable audience on Saturday's final night of performances.

"This whole festival is the most challenging one I've ever done in my life and with this team. But with the kind of support we got from the Diaspora and everyone, it's a sell-out show...I mean we sold everything out. That is amazing, considering that we are still in the throes of a pandemic — COVID 19 — and now we have monkeypox. It is the period of uncertainty... so much uncertainty circulating the globe. Add to that, the war over there in Ukraine. It's all just really terrible and it affects everybody so the detail it takes to do Reggae Sumfest, which is a week-long event, is ultimately affected," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Bogdanovich estimated that the audience numbers on the Friday, which was the bigger of the two nights, was in keeping with what was expected, and added that he was more annoyed than worried when torrential rainfall began to dump buckets on the Second City just hours before the start of the show on Friday.

"It was pretty close to 17,000. I was just annoyed. I knew it was going to go away but boy, it came down hard — and that lightning! The lightning knocked out the electricity and Internet but the team is so good, we are so action-oriented, and so I like to say we've got a lot of firemen on the team who just put the fires out as they start up."

With this year out of the way, Bogdanovich is already looking forward to the 2023 staging of Reggae Sumfest. However, he stated he will be keeping the plans for next year close to his chest.

"We have quite a few tricks up our sleeves for next year but we are just looking to wind down and recuperate after this year," he noted.

Meanwhile, Bogdanovich and his team are stating their position on the performance by one unnamed female artiste.

In a statement he noted that Sumfest does not condone performances that insult or denigrate other artistes or individuals.

"This sort of behaviour is strictly prohibited under Sumfest policy and the agreements between DownSound and our artistes. Despite this, it has come to our attention that one of the performers incorporated words and images into her performance that were insulting and demeaning.

"We can't control what an artiste does when they get on stage. In this case, we had no knowledge as to what was to take place. The behaviour was disrespectful and inexcusable, and for that we sincerely apologise to Bounty Killer for any offence caused," the statement further read.

Among the artistes whose performances stood out were the deejays and singers involved in the tribute to music producer Dave Kelly — Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Cham, Spragga Benz, Frisco Kid, Wayne Wonder, Mr Easy — Beres Hammond, Koffee, Spice, Masicka, Ding Dong, and the new breed of artistes including Intence, Jahshii, Iwaata, 450, Skeng, Brysco, Ikaya, Shaneil Muir, D'Yani, Yaksta, and Nation Boss.

Spragga Benz (left) and Cham
Wayne Wonder (left) and Mr Easy share the spotlight. At centre is Bounty Killer.
Frisco Kid
Beres Hammond
Richard Johnson

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