Sumfest to rake in big bucks for economy
Organisers of Reggae Sumfest are expecting the 2017 installation of the annual music festival to be the best yet.
As the show celebrates its 25th anniversary, patrons have been promised more than just a weekend of entertainment as the event has been extended to one week.
Though the latter was information already revealed at the Montego Bay launch of the event back in February, Sumfest organisers mentioned the heavy list of planned activities again at the Kingston Launch on Thursday night, stating that the entire island is expected to benefit from the extension.
"We have had a positive economic impact not only in Montego bay but all of Jamaica," said Sumfest director, Robert Russell. "We attract some 5,000 visitors to Montego Bay every year with a stay estimated by the Jamaica Tourist Board of $US1,500 a week. That equates to $US7.5 million and when you multiply by J$129 that's J$967.5 million injected into the economy of Jamaica."
He also said that everyone, including the owners of big hotels and guest houses, vendors who line the streets of Montego Bay and the taxi operators see an increase in earnings during Sumfest.
"People look forward to Sumfest even more now than they look forward to Christmas because so many people are able to send their children back to school in September," he said. "Every restaurant, every hotel, every airline seat is booked, every taxi, every nightclub does well when Sumfest rolls into town. I am proud of the strides that Reggae Sumfest has made since its beginning."
The week of activities planned for July 16-22 include an opening beach party, a Sumfest Sunset Yacht party, an All-White Party, and Sumfest Heavyweight Clash before the customary weekend of stage shows.
Grammy winning artiste Sean Paul, Alkaline, Chris Martin, Spice, Queen Ifrica, Mavado, Harry Toddler, Richie Stephens, Beenie Man, Ninja Man, Tory Lanez and Sean Kingston are among some of the acts already booked to perform.
Joe Bagdanovich, CEO of Downsound Records and the main man behind Sumfest, revealed that in addition to those acts, his team is currently in negotiations to get African reggae performer, Patoranking added to the bill. The African singer is popular in Jamaica especially for his song, My Woman, My Everything.