May 19, 2010
REGGAE SUMFEST STILL ON
Contrary to rumours, the popular annual Reggae Sumfest festival, held annually, is still on for this summer.
In recent weeks, rumours have been spreading that Reggae Sumfest, which is usually held in Montego Bay, would not be staged this year due to a lack of sponsorship. However, when THE STAR spoke to Johnny Gourzong of Summerfest Productions, organisers of the event, he confirmed that the festival would in fact be held.
He said: "It is definitely confirmed that it will be kept. We had a number of challenges due to reduced sponsorship, and we had to find ways of being more creative and making it happen to its usual high standard."
The organisers are therefore appealing to stakeholders to work with them in finding creative solutions to the challenges to stage the 18th edition of the 'Greatest Reggae Festival on Earth'.
Gourzong added: "With the challenges being faced this year, we're just asking the service providers of the festival which includes the hotels, airlines, productions and artistes, to recognise the challenge and to make as many concessions as possible. We have to keep this festival alive, which has been a benchmark for the industry."
The festival will kick off on July 18 with a beach party which will be followed by three days of live performances, including a dancehall night and two international nights, at Catherine Hall.
The show has traditionally featured top reggae and dancehall performers, but hip-hop and rhythm and blues acts like Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Boyz II Men, Ne-yo, Keri Hilson, Jasmine Sullivan, Toni Braxton and Lionel Richie have also been featured.
According to Gourzong, a launch date for the festival has tentatively been set for June 9 in Kingston. He added that Reggae Sumfest is important to Jamaica's tourism package.
"The show is very important to the economy and tourism interests. Reggae Sumfest has been outstanding in reaching patrons from many countries; not only North America, but the United Kingdom and even as far as Australia," he said.
Reggae Sumfest provides an avenue for new and established local talent to demonstrate their prowess to an international audience, as well as a wide cross section of the Jamaican society.