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Reggae Sumfest: Virtual access granted to millions worldwide

Published:Monday | July 10, 2017 | 5:08 PM
Luciano (left) and Barry G on stage at a previous Reggae Sumfest

The world will be watching the best of reggae and dancehall on stage at Reggae Sumfest when the main concert opens on Friday, July 21 at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. Red Stripe presents Reggae Sumfest 25, will raise the bar in the quality of food offerings, venue layout and worldwide accessibility.

Continuing last year’s remarkable decision to grant access to the world via the 360 virtual reality and HD Live streams more fans will join the mammoth 25th staging of the greatest show on earth.

With a revamped format, Reggae Sumfest introduced free High Definition (HD) live stream and a 360 Virtual reality access via an app in 2016. Fans across the globe who were unable to witness the performances first hand, were gifted ‘front row seats’ via their smart devices including cell phones, tablets, computers and TVs. Capitalising on that success, the festival will again be embarking on live High Definition (HD) streams which will cover on stage performances as well as a 360 Virtual reality stream that gives easy access to activities on stage, backstage and general venue.

Sepp Donahower, who is in charge of streaming, says this year will see a director manoeuvring between some four to six camera shots of the main stage, back stage and the media booth, for global broadcast. He added, “We make players for these live streams, that are embeddable and what we do is email those to various third party websites so that those websites can also show the live streams on their homepage for their fans.”

The emailed streams will be sent to reggae websites in France, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Japan and North America, while here in Jamaica, fans can access the streams via the official Reggae Sumfest website.

Last year’s efforts were well received and reaped positive feedback. The 360 live streams, showcased the Festival free for over 500,000 live individual views. A further 2 million plus views on You Tube one week after the festival, signaled increased global demand for the event. Following the 2016 festival, there are some 90,000 videos taken from the live stream now being actively watched on YouTube.

“The world loves Jamaican music and this is a grand celebration and we invite the world to join us. We are looking for ways to expand the access that the world has to Jamaican music and the live stream provides that opportunity for us,” said Joseph Bogdanovich, owner of DownSound Entertainment, producers of Reggae Sumfest.

In addition to the regular V.I.P. section, patrons in search of an upgraded VIP experience will have that opportunity through the new V.V.I.P/Ultra V.I.P options. These elevated platforms on both sides of the main stage will offer not only seating, but covered cabanas, complimentary bottle service, special parking, hostesses, additional security and appreciation packages. The complements will vary based on the selected option which is broken down into 3rd tier, 2nd tier, tier and Ultra.

Reggae Sumfest, kicks off with a Beach Party themed 'The Adult Playground' to be hosted by Yanique 'The Curvy Diva' Barrett at Tropical Bliss Beach on Sunday, July 16, which will make way for Sumfest at Sunset, an inaugural sea cruise which leaves the Pier 1 dock on Monday, July 17. Pier 1 will be the hot spot for the All White Party on Tuesday, July 18 and the Blitz Retro Block Party with Stone Love, Swatch International and veteran entertainer Mr. Lexx on Wednesday, July 19. Thursday, July 20 will then see Pier 1 host the Heavy Weight Sound Clash featuring Black Chiney and Bishop Escobar before the iconic venue Catherine Hall takes over for the highly anticipated Night 1 and Night 2 on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22.