All systems go

1 week ago 24

WESTERN BUREAU:

Promising an unparalleled production unlike any festival ever staged in Jamaica, DownSound Entertainment’s Joe Bogdanovich has announced that all systems are a go for Reggae Sumfest 2024.

The festival is set to officially kick off next Sunday, July 14, in Montego Bay, with preparations at the event’s main venue, Catherine Hall, to be completed two days in advance, shared Bogdanovich during an interview with The Gleaner on Sunday night at Pier One on the Waterfront.

“I can tell you that this production will be second to none. We are taking the festival to the next level with sound, stage, lights, and the corridor we created last year for skyboxes,” the DownSound CEO stated, unwilling to reveal much more information.

LITTLE TO NO DAMAGE FROM BERYL

All he added was that 2024 will be phenomenal. Catherine Hall, like the rest of the tourism capital Montego Bay, he said, received little or no damage from Hurricane Beryl.

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“All the artistes booked, including Babyface, YG Marley, and Beres Hammond, will appear, with many of them already doing drops,” he noted, adding that for the first time, Beenie Man will be performing with an orchestra at the Appleton Rum Festival at Reggae Sumfest next Thursday night.

“Thursday is going to be brand new for us at Reggae Sumfest, with rum tasting from various independent companies. I think that’s going to be quite good. Beenie Man, with a big orchestra, goes on at eight o’clock. You’ve never seen Beenie Man with a big orchestra before as Moses Davis.”

According to him, ticket sales are good, and the expected support was confirmed by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, who declared Montego Bay ready for any mega event. “Within 60 hours after Beryl damaged parts of Jamaica, Montego Bay is ready. All the hotels in the area are fully operational. The issues with electricity and water have all been resolved in the Montego Bay area. At the moment, we have just over 60,000 visitors in the Montego Bay area. So we are ready for this, from a tourism point of view.”

He said the city was ready to give the visitors the experience of a lifetime. The culmination this year of Reggae Sumfest and Rum Festival is a unique feature and indeed an innovation. “We’re giving greater value to the visitors and the patrons who will come [to Jamaica, from] the moment they arrive,” he stated.

Bartlett noted there were no cancellations to date, and the forward bookings were looking good. “Notwithstanding the near brush that we had with the hurricane, we want to remind the world that the hurricane did not hit Jamaica directly. What happened was that the eyewall brushed against the shorelines on the southern side of Jamaica, where the touristic assets are not as predominant as on the northern side, where more than 80 per cent of all the tourism assets are, and that’s where Reggae Sumfest will be held,” he argued.

Hardly capable of hiding his excitement that the festival was spared the wrath of the system, the event’s Deputy Chairman Robert Russell told The Gleaner that work will restart on the Reggae and Dancehall Wall of Fame this week.

The wall, which has become a hit with passers-by, pays tribute to the likes of dancehall sensation Spice, the warlord Bounty Killer, the late King of Reggae Bob Marley, the late Prince of Reggae Dennis Brown, Toots Hibbert, the doctor Beenie Man, the man women love to love Beres Hammond, Protoje, Marion ‘Lady Saw’ Hall, Shabba Ranks, Judy Mowatt, and King Yellowman, to name a few.

“That wall is going to be a big attraction for Montego Bay and for Jamaica. We’re proud to be a part of it. It was Joe’s idea and his intention to beautify Jamaica,” said Russell.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com

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