Bogdanovich confident of Reggae Sumfest staging in July 2022Tuesday, October 26, 2021
While indicating that he has no idea what the future holds for Jamaica's entertainment industry, Downsound Entertainment's CEO, Josef Bogdanovich says he and his Reggae Sumfest team are planning to host the festival in July 2022.
In fact, the scheduled July 20 to 23 staging of the 'Greatest Reggae Show on Earth' at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay is already being advertised.
Acknowledging that the staging of the event hinges on the rate of COVID-19 vaccination in Jamaica, Bogdanovich expressed confidence that the island can get to the herd immunity stage by next summer despite the current low level of inoculation, with less than 15 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated against the respiratory illness.
With herd immunity, he said large public gatherings are highly likely to be allowed.
“I think there is a very good possibility of that (herd immunity by July 2022). I think the vaccination numbers will go up because the government is trying hard to get majority of the population fully vaccinated by year end,” Bogdanovich said.
“They are now going door-to-door now to get people vaccinated and that takes a lot of effort so they are serious about what they're doing,” he continued. “In this country we have our perspective (on vaccination) which is understood and respected but I think there is progress being made. People are getting on board.”
With that said, Downsound's leading man revealed that his team is considering making the summer festival a vaccination-only event. When OBSERVER ONLINE asked Bogdanovich if he had any concerns about Reggae Sumfest becoming a superspreader event post staging, he indicated that having a fully-vaccinated patronage may be the safest bet for him and his team.
“We are seriously considering doing a vaccine only event. That is just a consideration, it's not a fact. Those kinds of events have been endorsed internationally and in other markets such as France and the US. The US just announced that you can't even fly there unless you are fully vaccinated. That's a major thing,” he said. “I think the look and feel of Sumfest will be different from 2019 but I think the numbers will be high, the venue will be bigger than it was last year if all things go according to plan. I think if it's a fully vaccinated show, that's the safest you can get.”
He added: “The Governor's Ball Music Festival in New York had over 100,000 people the other day across all three nights and I didn't hear of any spikes coming out of the New York area after that. They had another 50,000 people at Central Park on the same Sunday so I think that vaccinations have proven to be a very big solution the problem of COVID-19.”
Indicating that acts have already been booked for the summer event, Bogdanovich says he is looking forward to Sumfest's Catherine Hall comeback.
“I am not going to let anybody down and we are going to continue with the Greatest Reggae Show on Earth with the best entertainment/music you can imagine and then some at our home in Montego Bay. I think the experience will be awesome, the lineup is crazy exceptional, better than 2019 and we just can't wait to bring it to you.”
Back in August, the Government of Jamaica had relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to allow for the staging of a number of entertainment events including the Dream Weekend multi-event party series, which at least one health official linked to a subsequent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Westmoreland.