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Joe Bogdanovich buys Sumfest brand

Published:Wednesday | April 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM
CEO of Downsound Records Joe Bogdanovich

Joe Bogdanovich of Downsound Records has announced the acquisition of the Reggae Sumfest brand, with plans to restructure the show over the next two years and boost earnings to the economy beyond US$6 million annually.

The acquisition represents the latest in a line of quick purchases by Bogdanovich.

The deal announced on Tuesday in a release was completed three weeks ago in Kingston. The structure of the transaction, especially the precise entity acquiring the brand, the monies associated with the deal and associated rights, was undisclosed.

"We are satisfied that Sumfest under Joe will evolve and get bigger and better," said Robert Russell, chairman of Summerfest Productions, in a phone interview with Wednesday Business on Tuesday. "Yes, the brand has a value, but I will not disclose it," he said.




Changes discussed, however, will involve the team seeking an international sponsor rather than the usual strategy of a local title sponsor. The team also plans to increase revenues from streaming the event globally, utilising interactive '360' virtual reality technology. On the flip side, the company will seek to cut costs by reducing the live show nights from three to two.

Summerfest Productions decided to sell the brand rights because Bogdanovich had new and fresh ideas to revitalise Reggae Sumfest, said Summerfest CEO Johnny Gourzong.

"Over the years, his commitment to the music and to make things happen for the industry financially is like no other in today's market," added chairman Russell, as quoted in the release.

Bogdanovich described 2016 as the festival's transitional year in which Downsound will be working closely with Gourzong, Russell and Tina Davis, who have developed the music brand over 25 years.

"In order to make this industry thrive, it is critical that the home of reggae music gets its house in order," said Bogdanovich in the release.

Other changes will include signing younger more popular local and international acts that still reflect the dancehall/reggae ethos.

The Sumfest board will also include local and international experts in an attempt to lure sponsors and acts.

The partners are assembling an "international board of directors who have experience in the business".

The annual Sumfest music festival has supported tourism and the city of Montego Bay for two and half decades.

"It has been reported that Reggae Sumfest brought US$6 million worth of tourism last year to the city, and this administration is looking to top that annually," the release said.