Sumfest to publicise concert schedule
Trimming the number of main stage nights from three to two and not having an overseas act are not the only changes for Reggae Sumfest under its new ownership structure. Robert Russell, vice-chairman and co-producer of the festival, told The Gleaner that for the first time, a performance schedule will be publicised ahead of the concerts, allowing those attending to know the approximate time a particular artiste will be on stage.
And a performer who is late runs the risk of not performing on the night. The seek-long event culminates in Dancehall Night on Friday, July 22, and Reggae Night on Saturday, July 23. Among the Dancehall Night performers are Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, and Assassin, with Tarrus Riley, Sanchez, and Barrington Levy among Reggae Night's singers.
"Artistes have to be professional, and we are expecting to publish the time they will be on stage," Russell said, "By and large artistes have complied with the structure since the inception." So people being late is "more the exception than the rule."
A publicised schedule allows persons to plan the time they get to the venue as well as an approximate ending time. Russell said the major stage nights will begin at 9 p.m. and go until about 6 a.m. It is not only a matter of ensuring a music marathon, but also security in sunlight.
"A lot of patrons do not want to go back into their community when it is dark," Russell said. Dancehall Night, especially, has received very strong support from Montego Bay residents at previous Reggae Sumfest stagings. "They say specifically they want to go home in the morning."
There is also the issue of performers overstaying their allotted time, but Russell said, "We have stage managers who know the artistes. We are usually able to run a tight ship."