Sumfest Memories : Dennis and Gregory double at Sumfest, Sunsplash

July 12, 2017
Dennis Brown
Gregory Isaacs

DiMario McDowell is part of Supreme Promotions, which puts on a number of events but is especially famed for the Boxing Day concert, Sting,

This, however, dos not automatically make him see other large-scale live performance events as competitors. He has an enduring memory of Reggae Sumfest, which is celebrating 25 years of existence this year.

With Sumfest and Sunsplash competing to put on the best line-up, naturally, there were those performers who would be on both festivals.

"One outstanding memory was seeing Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs twice in quick succession," McDowell said.

Their accustomed presentation was a seamless transfer, Brown singing the opening lines of Here I Come while Isaacs was performing, then the two doing their duet Big All Around before Brown went on by himself.

Gregory Isaacs, known as the Cool Ruler, did hit songs such as Night Nurse, Hard Drugs, Front Door and Red Rose. Gregory died in 2010.

Dennis Brown's catalogue includes Promised Land, Revolution, Love Has Found Its Way and Cassandra. He died in 1999.

At the 1999 show, Gregory Isaacs, along with fellow legends John Holt and Ken Boothe, paid tribute to Dennis Brown, who died on July 1 of the same year.

It is not only the two performers in particular who McDowell appreciates the memory of, but the music which accompanied a relative peace and tranquillity in Jamaica.

While Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Sunsplash briefly overlapped in the summer, McDowell remembers a much more packed time period, the end of year 'silly season' when there were sometimes 30 major stage shows in 21 days.

"This was something to look forward to," McDowell said, recalling events like Ram Jam and Fresh.

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