IT was an exhilarating party atmosphere at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay during Thursday evening’s media launch of the 2022 staging of Reggae Sumfest, which returns to the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex after a two-year hiatus due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Public figures and members of the music fraternity in attendance were undoubtedly enjoying the pulsating music provided by DJ Jigga, plus live performances.
Josef Bogdanovich, chief executive officer of DownSound Entertainment, promoters of Reggae Sumfest, was chief among those who welcomed the return of the festival, dubbed the Greatest Reggae Festival on Earth.
“The past two years have been excruciating for us in the entertainment industry as we experienced a total shutdown of all events as the world grappled with COVID-19. Tonight [Thursday night], however, is a celebration as we signal to Jamaica and the rest of the world [that] we are ready to welcome our loyal fans, all reggae and dancehall enthusiasts to Montego Bay between July 18 to the 23rd,” Bogdanovich remarked.
He also hailed entertainers and sponsors for their support on such short notice, following the lifting of the Disaster Risk Management Act in March.
“It’s important for me to acknowledge all those individuals and organisations who have been integral to our ability to stage the 2022 festival. We were able to get to this point only with the support and cooperation of our artistes, who were quick to respond to our call. Many of our traditional sponsors readily committed their continued support,” the CEO of DownSound commented.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett also welcomed the return of the premier music festival to the island’s calendar of events.
“Events, festivals, exhibitions, meetings and conventions are huge traffic builders; they are drivers of visitors to destinations and so we encourage and support events of this nature,” Bartlett said.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange also welcomed the return of the festival.
“The pandemic denied us the opportunity and pleasure of welcoming the peoples of the world to Jamaica for events such as Reggae Sumfest — which I am very pleased to see is back on the calendar this year,” Grange said. “This [Thursday] evening’s launch is testament that the sector is not only awake, but is reasserting itself towards the national agenda of prosperity for all.”
Noting that COVID “is still with us; and is still threatening our health and livelihood”, Grange implored members of the audience to monitor the fifth wave of the novel coronavirus.
“While we must not panic, we should be monitoring the news of the fifth wave because the situation has implications for the country, and could affect our industry and our plans for our diamond jubilee,” Grange stated.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, Bogdanovich was hopeful that the fifth wave will dissipate and not adversely affect the staging of this year’s festival.
“I am not overly concerned. It’s July 18th to July 23. It’s two months away. I think we will be fine. I think it [fifth wave] is going to come and go. It comes and goes and we have to move forward with the day-to-day life, abide by the protocols,” the DownSound Entertainment boss expressed.