Reggae Sumfest Launched Amid Great Expectations

The GLEANER: WESTERN BUREAU –

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, (centre), poses with (from left)Trudy Chin, general manager Caribbean Airlines; Joe Bogdanovic, CEO of DownSound Entertainment, Robert Russell, deputy chairman of Reggae Sumfest; and Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon, at the Reggae Sumfest launch at Iberostar on Thursday.

The official countdown to Reggae Sumfest 2024, Jamaica’s premier music festival, started on Thursday night at the Iberostar Resort, in Montego Bay, with a colourful launch, which was staged against a backdrop of pulsating music and informative speeches of endorsement from government officials, sponsors and the organisers.

“I stand before you to highlight the profound significance of music festivals, like Reggae Sumfest, in fostering tourism growth,” said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. “Music festivals aren’t just gatherings of melody and rhythm; they are vibrant celebrations of culture, diversity, and human connection. They serve as beacons of joy, drawing people from all corners of the globe to revel in the magic of music.”

“In an era where experiences hold more value than possessions, music festivals stand out as prime destinations for travellers seeking unforgettable moments,” added Bartlett.

Like Bartlett, businessman Joe Bogdanovich, the chief executive officer of the annual festival, which will be staged between July 14-20, said his team continues to wear Reggae Sumfest’s official tag, ‘the greatest reggae show on Earth,’ with immense pride and responsibility.

“It’s a movement, a celebration of our roots, our heritage, and the powerful impact that reggae music has had across the globe,” said Bogdanovich. “Each year, we strive to elevate the Reggae Sumfest experience. From state-of-the-art stage production to immersive cultural experiences, we’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and enhance what we offer to our audience.”

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, (centre), poses with (from left)Trudy Chin, general manager Caribbean Airlines; Joe Bogdanovic, CEO of DownSound Entertainment, Robert Russell, deputy chairman of Reggae Sumfest; and Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, (centre), poses with (from left) Trudy Chin, general manager Caribbean Airlines; Joe Bogdanovic, CEO of DownSound Entertainment, Robert Russell, deputy chairman of Reggae Sumfest; and Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon, at the Reggae Sumfest launch at Iberostar on Thursday – Ashley Anguin

As per tradition, this year’s staging will kick-off on Sunday, July 14, with a Family Funday, the first event of what is packaged as ‘seven days, eight events,’ and will be followed up with a free street dance in Monday, July 15; an All White Party on Tuesday, July 16; the popular Global Sound Clash on Wednesday, July 17; Blitz, which has been incorporated into Appleton Jamaica Rum Festival, which features Beenie Man, will take centrestage on Thursday, July 18, to be followed by the two major night’s at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre, which will feature a galaxy of stars.

The impressive line-up of stars for the two main nights includes international R&B star Baby Face, iconic Jamaican crooner Beres Hammond, Anthony B, Luciano, Capleton, Turbulence, Teejay, Valiant, Dexta Daps, Aidonia, YG Marley, Jada Kingdom, Munga, Ras I and new sensation Nigy Boy.

While the segment to honour legendary dancehall star, Bounty Killer, is off owing to unexpected challenges, which the promoters hope can be ironed out for next year’s staging, it should be noted that international superstar Maxi Priest was at the launch, seated among the organisers, fuelling speculations that he could be added to the line-up.

Like it was last year, the St James Municipal Corporation, cognisant of the economic benefit and the global attention the festival continues to draw to the city, has again dubbed the city ‘Reggae Sumfest City’ for the duration of the festival.

“From the lively beauty salons to the bustling taxi stands, the mouth-watering scent of jerk chicken wafting through the air to the fully occupied rooms and sold-out season bands, Montego Bay buzzes with the festival’s offerings,” said Mayor Richard Vernon about the energy and economic benefits which the music festival generates.

“It injects approximately one billion dollars into our economy each year and generates employment for thousands during its season. Reggae Sumfest is more than just a festival; it’s a cultural and economic force,” Vernon stated.