Sizzla in Concert
Joe unveils Sumfest plans

Reggae chanter Sizzla Kalonji is one of the acts being confirmed for this year's staging of Reggae Sumfest set for July 20-23 at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay, St James.

This was confirmed by the festival's executive producer Josef Bogdanovich during a telephone interview with the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

Bogdanovich was put on the spot by the entertainer at the recording of his recent Rise To The Occasion concert which featured the artiste performing along with a 35-piece orchestra. Sizzla asked whether or not the full orchestra could accompany him at the annual festival.

Bogdanovich noted that discussion are taking place at this time.

“We are talking about a lot of things at this time. It was awesome to see him perform along with that big band but we have not come to a conclusion. A lot of thing would have to be considered for that, including budget, and we are not at that point just yet,” he said.

“What is clear is that Sizzla is a very talented artiste. He is the last of the key Rasta artistes who can do what he does and it was such a pleasure to see him take the stage and do his thing and we look forward to having him on Reggae Sumfest,” he continued.

Like most of the entertainment industry, the annual music festival has been severely affected by the pandemic. In 2020, the organisers of the event staged a virtual festival with live performances by some top reggae acts. However, they decided to forego the festival totally last year and prepare for the full restoration of the physical event this year.

Bogdanovich, who announced the new dates in February, stated that based on the projections regarding the spread of the virus, he is feeling upbeat about his event.

“I am very confident moving forward. I am looking at a positivity rate of below five per cent and that's something good. I am hoping that the authorities relax the conditions and restriction like the US as we seek to build the economy. The truth is we can just fly the gate, but the hospitality and entertainment industries are suffering. A number of companies have folded already and others, including artistes, have move moved to Florida where they can work freely. I am still here and looking to support the Montego Bay economy once things return to normal.”

Bogdanovich steered clear of naming any other acts for Reggae Sumfest, but mentioned that the festival will be one of the best in terms of music and presentation.

“The production will be fabulous. One of things we are looking at is selling less tickets. We don't want it to happen like in the past where the venue is overcrowded. We have to work it out so that ticket prices are not too high but we are able to maintain our production value. The spacing has to be right for patrons to enjoy themselves, while we maintain the protocols so that everybody is safe. We don't want people getting sick, so we definitely have to support the protocols, while at the same time do all we can to get the music back up and running,” he noted.

A section of the audience attending Reggae Sumfest's Reggae Night at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, St James. (Photo: Observer file)
Sizzla in performanceat Saturday's Rise ToThe Occasion concertwith a 35-pieceorchestra.
Josef Bogdanovich
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

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