Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
'Looking back, looking forward!' That is the motto of Reggae Sumfest. To commemorate its 20 years of contribution to Jamaica's reggae landscape, the organisers of Sumfest have a tribute lined up for some reggae legends and will also pay tribute to up-and-coming stars by providing them with a platform.
During Sunday's launch on Kingston's waterfront, Summerfest Productions, organisers of Sumfest, told the many in attendance that headliner R. Kelly will definitely be in attendance at this year's staging of the event.
Celebrating it's 20th anniversary, Johnny Gourzong, Head of Summerfest Productions said Kelly will have a special treat for International night 2.
Reggae Sumfest will kick off on July 15 with a beach party at Aquasol Beach, followed by Dancehall night on the July 19, and International Night 1 on July 20.
With Jamaica celebrating its 50th anniversary, there will be a special tribute to major reggae acts.
"When I say reggae acts, it actually is a broad term because this tribute will honour those in reggae, ska and dancehall. This tribute to the artistes is reflective of the span of music over 50 years in Jamaica. We'll be paying tribute to U Roy, John Holt, Leroy Sibbles, Yellowman, Frankie Paul, Pinchers, Mighty Diamonds, Derrick Harriott and Leroy Smart," Gourzong said.
Artiste Shabba Ranks, who last graced the Sumfest stage in 1994, will also be back for the 20th anniversary. In his address at the launch, Gourzong told the crowd that Shabba Ranks wanted a trailer load of sexy girls to meet him, much to the delight of many female attendees.
Gourzong was also presented with the 'pin of pride' by Lisa Hanna, minister of youth and culture.
"It was quite unexpected, and we feel quite honoured. We are proud that they considered us and I know myself and Mr [Robert] Russell will wear it with pride," Gourzong said.
Following brief speeches by sponsors and organisers, patrons were treated to mini performances from Conkarah, Tommy Lee, No-Maddz, Christopher Martin and I-Octane.
Sumfest promises a great show with a stellar line-up.