Josef Bogdanovich

JOSEF Bogdanovich, principal of DownSound Records and Reggae Sumfest, is optimistic that Jamaica's entertainment sector will reopen this year, despite fears of the new Omicron strain of the novel coronavirus.

“We have to move on and live on because other countries are — they're getting back to work, they're getting back to entertainment. And what's happening here is that pretty soon you won't have any live entertainment as the artistes won't be here,” the American-born businessman told the Jamaica Observer.

“I'm looking forward to a big, prosperous, and fun July 2022,” he continued, hinting that his annual summer festival, Reggae Sumfest, is on the cards for this year.

Last year's staging of the festival was cancelled due to the onslaught of the novel coronavirus, while the year before saw a virtual staging.

“Sumfest is definitely on. We've raised the bar in the virtual space so we're planning to go live... It's simply the best show on earth. It's going to be awesome,” he said, while adding details will be shared at the end of this month.

Bogdanovich is of the opinion there could be a silver lining behind the Omicron cloud.

“I personally think the Omicron could be a blessing in disguise. It's not long-lasting; it doesn't go deep as the previous Delta, and COVID-19's other variants. Based on what we're seeing in other countries people are not being hospitalised, because they have some vaccination. It makes it a lot easier,” he said.

The American-born investor said while he does not advocate forcing anyone to get vaccinated, he believes there are merits to it.

“I believe vaccinations do work, to some extent, and people are not getting as sick as they were before. People are building immunity to various strains of the virus and we have to move on and live on,” he said.

“We have to think beyond ourselves, and about our neighbours and community. If you want to travel or work in a foreign country you have to qualify for that, and if you want to qualify you have to be vaccinated. That's the way it is and that's the way it's happening around the world and in the entertainment business. It's been a hard two years for many artistes and they're understanding that if they're not vaccinated, they can't work or get into the countries, he added.

Founded more than 20 years ago, DownSound Records has worked with a host of top names in the entertainment business. The label scored significant success with acts including Jah Cure, I-Maroon, Nanko, Fantan Mojah, Harry Toddler, as well as new sensations D'Yani and Mary Chin.

Bogdanovich is also a major shareholder of the KLE Group, operators of Usain Bolt Tracks & Records. He is involved with companies including Hardware & Lumber, Rapid True Value; H&L Agro; Franjam KLE; Parkland Industrial Co; R Hotel; and Argyle Industries.

As of yesterday, Jamaica's COVID-19 death toll stood as 2,477, while 3,168 active cases were confirmed in the last two weeks.

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto & Entertainment

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