ORGANISERS of Reggae Sumfest — the Jamaica's premier reggae music festival — have announced that this year's event is to be staged from July 15-21 at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.
Robert Russell, director of Summerfest Productions, which organises the event, says this year they will be pulling out all the stops for the festival, as, in addition to the Jamaica 50 celebrations, Reggae Sumfest is celebrating 20 years.
"This year will be a signature year," Russell tells the Observer. "We are going all out to ensure that our patrons have a great show. We are going after a few big names, but of course, I cannot make any announcements at this time as we are still in negotiations, and divulging the names at this time could affect the deals," he says.
Over the past 20 years, Reggae Sumfest has been graced by an extensive list of both local and foreign acts. The list of locals reads like a virtual who's who of the reggae/dancehall fraternity and includes Damian Marley, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado and Vybz Kartel.
When asked to name his top act over the years, Russell noted that it was hard to single out one performer.
"There have been so many great performers that I can't narrow it down to one. However, standouts have included Destiny's Child, Lionel Richie and Usher," he says.
Amidst the plans for the Jamaica 50 and Sumfest's 20th edition of the festival, the promoters are making an appeal to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) — owners and operators of the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex — to make necessary improvements to the venue, which has been home to Reggae Sumfest since its inception.
"With this year being such a big year, it is critical that the UDC looks towards upgrading and expanding the facility," Russell says.
Two years ago, continuous rainfall and poor drainage, left the venue waterlogged and threatened to disrupt the festival.
Source: The Jamaica Observer