Sumfest ends on high note

There is something about Beres Hammond.

Before the tribute to dancehall music hitmaker/producer Dave Kelly, had put the icing on the cake for Reggae Sumfest 2022, the event had already been shaken to its core thanks to a set from Hammond, a perennial favourite of the festival.

With his miles-deep catalogue, he was able to pull hits from his bag and each one satisfied the throngs of reggae fans inside the Catherine Hall venue more than the one before.

Beres Hammond in performance at Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, St James, on Sunday morning.Photos: Karl Mclarty
Sizzla Kalonji brings the curtains down on Reggae Sumfest on Sunday morning.

Hits such as Love Means, Rockaway, and Play Some More all had the audience on its feet and singing in chorus to the favourites. And when the set ended it was clear that this audience wanted even more music from the cherished artiste and icon.

However, the second and final night of performances at Reggae Sumfest did provide that more, as the acts billed all proved worthy of their slot on the festival which was returning to a physical staging for the first time after two years due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The task of closing the show fell to consistent hitmaker and performer Sizzla. However, his set was affected by two major factors — the audience was already battle weary after nearly 12 hours of performances, some of whom had been standing throughout this whole night. Then, the morning showers which pelted the venue offered no help.

Dexta Daps

These led to an exodus of patrons by the time Sizzla was ready to take to the stage at 8:00 am. But this did not stop the artiste from dropping favourites for those who braved the elements and took refuge under umbrellas.

Dexta Daps is one of those acts who consistently gives his all with each performance, and what he delivered on the Sumfest stage was no different. With a slew on hits the artiste — who hails from Seaview Gardens in St Andrew — created a stir with his dramatic entrance which saw him being released from prison to come through for his audience. His supporting acts, Ikaya and Louie Culture, added richness and texture to his set to make it even more enjoyable for the audience.

Grammy winner Koffee was making one of her rare performances locally and thrilled her audience by showing maturity and growth as a performer in her relatively short career. While not enthusiastic about her lesser-known hits, the audience hung onto her every word when she performed favourites, including Rapture, West Indies, Lock Down, Pull Up and, of course, Toast.

Singer Christopher Martin continues to have a special place in the hearts of Jamaicans and reggae music lovers. As one of the early winners of the televised talent show Digicel Rising Stars, Martin has capitalised on that start, producing what has been a sterling career. His string of hits and impressive showmanship were on full display for his audience at Reggae Sumfest, and they loved every last moment.

Sumfest debutants such as Nation Boss, Yaksta, D'Yani, and Shaneil Muir can rest well knowing that their presentations on the festival's stage were impressive.

D'Yani will still have his audience talking about his set, which included a sensual shower scene featuring dancer/choreographer Christina Gonzalez. Muir's brand of lyrics aimed at female empowerment definitely resonated with that constituent, while it was all about the message from Nation Boss and Yaksta.

The night's openers, who included Wesrok, Lawgiver The Kingston, Frass, and Kahlia, were also noteworthy.

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

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