Fri | Oct 15, 2021

Buju soaking up most of the Sumfest love

Published:Monday | July 15, 2019 | 12:22 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor
Swedish reggae fan Amanda Elfstrand (left) and her companion enjoying the ambience at Mawnin Medz.
Swedish reggae fan Amanda Elfstrand (left) and her companion enjoying the ambience at Mawnin Medz.

Western Bureau:

While Reggae Sumfest is set to feature close to 50 of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall, if one should go by the responses from many of the overseas fans pouring into the island for the one-week festival, it would appear that Buju Banton, who recently resumed his career after being incarcerated for eight years, is the biggest drawing card.

“I was wavering as to whether or not I should come, but once it was announced that Buju was confirmed, it was a done deal; I had to come,” said Amanda Elfstrand, a Swedish reggae fan. “I listen to Buju Banton’s music every day in Sweden. His music is pure and gives you a good feeling. I had to be here for this.”

A Canadian visitor who gave her name only as Tamarit made it absolutely clear that there was no way she could feel comfortable at home in Canada knowing that the Gargamel was performing in Jamaica, which she thinks is one of the most beautiful places on the earth.

“I wanted to come for the Long Walk to Freedom concert, but I heard it was sold out,” said the Canadian. “Once I heard he was going to be on Reggae Sumfest, I knew I had to come. Beautiful Jamaica and a chance to listen to Buju Banton is something I could not pass up.”


Another Swedish visitor, Julia, described herself as a big Beenie Man fan and said she truly relished the opportunity to see him perform live. However, what made Reggae Sumfest 2019 a must for her was the chance to see Buju Banton. According to her, she felt cheated when he was in prison because she was basically robbed of new songs and seeing him perform live.

“Buju is a special artiste, I really love his songs, but what I love the most is seeing him perform live. He is charismatic yet energetic. The smile you see is a smile of anticipation. I can’t wait to see Buju after so long,” she stated.

It’s not only the visitors who are looking forward to Buju Banton’s performance. Several locals who missed his Long Walk to Freedom concert in Kingston earlier this year made it clear that they would not allow this opportunity to see the Gargamel pass them by.

Ashley Ann Smith said she was eagerly looking forward to seeing Beenie Man and Bounty Killer perform together because, unlike some music fans who either like one or the other, she is a big fan of both.

“I really want to see Beenie and Bounty trading lyrics – that should be great,” said Smith. “I am also very excited to see Buju because he is now the biggest name in ­reggae. I also want to see Koffee because I like how she is holding her own and becoming a big star.”

While names such as Spice, Beres Hammond, Chronixx, Romain Virgo and Protoje came up among those who fans expect to sparkle, there was very little doubt that the man soaking up the most love is reggae’s favourite son, Buju Banton.