Reggae Sumfest goes larger - Three more launches before weeklong staging begins
With the goal being to develop Reggae Sumfest to rival mega-fests like Coachella (California, USA), AfroPunk (started in Brooklyn, New York, USA) or Glastonbury (England), by inviting a pilgrimage of reggae and dancehall music lovers to Montego Bay annually, principal Joe Bogdanovich reiterated his determination to continuously develop the show's offerings by spreading the festivities across an entire week.
While the main events will be Dancehall Night (scheduled for Friday, July 20, this year) and Reggae Night (Saturday, July 21), Bogdanovich revealed at a rap session on Wednesday in Kingston that patrons are welcome to enjoy additional features like beach parties, a festival 'mall' and an educational symposium.
The 2018 festival had its first launch event in New York in April and, before the opening bell, there will be three more. On May 16, the festival will launch in Montego Bay, before traversing to Kingston on May 30. Finally, Reggae Sumfest will make its way to Wynwood Art Walk for the fourth launch in Miami, Florida, on June 9.
To kick off the weeklong activities is the Sumfest Colorfest Beach Party on Sunday July 15, hosted by Yanique 'Curvy Diva' Barrett. The next day will be the Sumfest Street Jam: I Love MoBay, at the Old Hospital Park.
Maintaining the elimination of International Night, Reggae Sumfest has still created a space for an international showcase, so on Tuesday, July 17, the Sumfest All-White Party will return to Pier 1, followed by Sumfest Blitz on Wednesday, July 18, at the Hard Rock CafÈ. It will be hosted by Love and Hip-Hop star Safaree, with a performance by Britain's Steff London.
Fresh in the line-up is the Reggae Industry Symposium, where the Dance Xpressionz crew will host a 'learn-to-dance' workshop. Also proposed for that event is a workshop on how to juggle reggae and dancehall music, as well as a panel discussion focused on women in dancehall. The symposium is scheduled to take on the morning of Friday, July 20, before Dancehall Night.
Improving upon the food court introduced last year, the brand is prepared to take the event to the next level with the introduction of the Sumfest Mall. It is expected that there will be 16 shops in operation, selling wares from Jamaica artisans such as painters, sculptors and jewellers.
SOCIAL MEDIA POWER
During the media rap session, senior producer of DownSound Entertainment, Cordell 'Skatta' Burrell, spoke on the power of the brand's social media marketing. Last year, there were a number of skits produced for social media, encouraging patrons to attend the event. From all those efforts, the team reports that Reggae Sumfest made 65 million online impressions.
This year, the social media campaign began as early as January 1, with flyers of acts who were already confirmed for the show. Burrell reports that the effort has garnered positive results, with international patrons booking tickets - sans radio or television presence. The organisers have even wrapped 'dollar' vans in New York to pull more international eyes to the upcoming summer festival.
Slated to take the stage on Dancehall Night are Sizzla, Popcaan, Aidonia, Bounty Killer, Spice, Harry Toddler, Agent Sasco, Shane O, Tosh Alexander, Tommy Lee, Dance Xpressionz, Rygin King, Jah Fabio, D-Major and Kemar Hicon, Accid, Vanzo, Govana, Presskay and Stonebwoy (Ghana). Reggae Night will feature performances by Beres Hammond, Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, Maxi Priest, Capleton, Cham, Fantan Mojah, J Boog; Keznamdi, Stushi, D'Yani, Jah Dore, Jesse Royal, Raging Fyah, Naomi Cowan and Empress Ayeola.