Reggae Sumfest returns to MoBay next year

October 25, 2021
Patrons at Reggae Sumfest 2018.
Patrons at Reggae Sumfest 2018.
Josef Bogdanovich
Josef Bogdanovich

Downsound Entertainment principal Joe Bogdanovich is confident that Reggae Sumfest will make its return in 2022, despite the uncertainties that accompany live events in the pandemic. The festival is being advertised for July 20 to 23 next year in Montego Bay, St James.

Though he acknowledged that the country is still grappling with COVID-19, he remains hopeful based on the strides made in the health sector.

"I really think we can do it. I actually believe that," Bogdanovich told THE STAR yesterday. "I'm fully prepared to do Reggae Sumfest and deliver the 'Greatest Reggae Show on Earth'. I'm looking to continue to raise the bar of entertainment and bring relief to all of us with great reggae and dancehall music and entertainment."

He remained tight-lipped about several details concerning the planning of the show, including the line-up.

"I have a very strong line-up, but I can't give names yet because these people act crazy when you start putting names out there," he said. "You'll hear, 'What about me?', 'I want more money', and this and that. Artistes forget that we're all in it together."

His comments reflect what happened at the last staging in 2019. Artiste manager Romeich Major claimed his signees Shenseea, Ding Dong and (at the time) Teejay did not form part of the line-up as his desired booking fees were not met. The narrative was similar for Rygin King, who said he wanted to return to the stage, which was integral in exposing his talent, but felt their offer did not reflect his success. Adding to the Sumfest line-up chatter was Nadine Sutherland, who revealed that she had long wanted to perform on the show but was never called.

Sumfest organisers struck back by saying they were open to negotiations and that their offers were fair, based on their platform's worldwide reach. At the time, Bogdanovich also said the show is committed to diversifying its line-up, but that they can't please everyone.

Despite the line-up controversy, the event unfolded with big names like Buju Banton, Beres Hammond, Koffee, Spice, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Chronixx and Protoje.

"I think the line-up we have now is even better and more dynamic than the one for the phenomenal 2019 live show," Bogdanovich said.

"This one is gonna have a different perspective on alignment. I think one lesson we learnt from COVID-19 is that we have to work together in order to survive, or otherwise we're doomed. We've got to get rid of the ego and develop the 'we-go'. That's what I'm interested in."

He continued, "We got a strong team and they're all itching to get back into the saddle and ride that horse all the way down the track. So that's all I can say right now."

Reggae Sumfest 2020 was held as a virtual show because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the organisers opted to adopt a 'wait-and-see' approach to 2021. However, a continuation of the ban on entertainment events as well as the country's low vaccination rate have forced Bogdanovich's team to shelve plans for this year's show.

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