JTB endorses Sumfest's direction
"This is the home of reggae. The emphasis on international performance was diluting the reggae aspect of the show somewhat," said Paul Pennicook, director of tourism, after signing the Jamaica Tourist Board's (JTB) endorsement of Reggae Sumfest yesterday. "We believe very strongly in promoting the music because the music is one of those things that makes us different from everybody else," he said.
The official endorsement took place at the JTB's New Kingston offices.
Reggae Sumfest vice-chairman and co-producer Robert Russell welcomed the JTB's support.
"They have welcomed the change we have initiated this year. They have given us 100 per cent support," Russell said.
The initiative is geared towards increasing the festival's international appeal and the event's new management assures that measures to truly take the brand internationally are currently on the table. The team intends to take Reggae Sumfest on a United States tour. "Last year, we were all ready to go,", Russell told The Gleaner. However, there was a stipulation from the interested entities that Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley participate in the tour.
The plan was halted when it was realised that because of previous commitments, Marley would have been unable to participate.
"Some very big international companies have approached us on this," Josef Bogdanovich revealed. However, right now the team is more focused on executing the transition of the Reggae Sumfest brand as smoothly as possible.
"We have a very exciting show this year," Bogdanovich promised. With the increased marketing efforts and more energy steered towards enhancing the production, Bogdanovich confidently assures an event with a nice flow.
"The spark of the show will definitely be a lot different because we got a little Downsound thing happening that's gonna be exciting," he said with a mischievous lilt.
"We have a little sky box that will be popular," he assured, boasting the presence of the most beautiful models in Jamaica.
"They're will be some bloggers up there that are gonna be letting the world know all about us. It's gonna be lit and it's gonna look good, and it's gonna cause a stir," Bogdanovich told The Gleaner.
"This is a reggae festival," Pennicook told The Gleaner, expressing agreement with the new direction of Reggae Sumfest. "It will emphasise that this is really the home of reggae," he said. The hope is that people will come to Jamaica to see "the best reggae festival in the world".
"People who come to Jamaica to Reggae Sumfest, they are really coming to see reggae music," Russell reiterated. "They're not coming to see an American artiste because they can see those people in America."