“Our music, Our festival”: the new theme for this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest. There were no international acts in this year’s line up and only 2 nights instead of 3 so they just had a dancehall night and the new reggae night. This was a big move by the new organizers of the show and one I personally agree with staying true to the name REGGAE Sumfest.
Officially it started from the 17th of July with events leading up to the big show but I’ll stick to the main two nights that I was present for. Given the big line up of artists for both nights, it will be too much to fit in a blog so I’ll make it short and mention the artists who stood out for both nights.
The first night was dancehall night and the biggest in terms of crowd. The cost for entry was $3,500 and the show began at 9-pm with patrons trickling in to find their spots early. However, the majority of the crowd wouldn’t come until later to see acts like Spice, Beenie man, Bounty killer and Popcann. As always, the amateurs and up coming artist performed first and got their spot light on the big stage. Some were good others not so good.
There were good performances from Romaine Virgo , Spice, Agent Sasco, I-octane and the war lord himself, Bounty killer who gave fans a dose of nostalgia with some 90’s hits. He even brought on his son during his set to perform some of his songs. Despite all of this, the highlight of dancehall night goes to the enigmatic character that is Tanto Blacks. The real rich artist during his energetic set ran from one side to the next, tripped and a did face plant on stage then proceeded to get up and said “That’s rich.” LMAO I died.
Reggae night was “big people things” and ran you about $5,500 for entry. This set of artists appealed to the grown folk and the lovers of reggae music with a mixture of young and old acts such as Barrington Levy,Sanchez, Christoper Martin, Busy Signal and the big man Supa Cat. Busy had an energetic performance where he wanted to carry on bad with some females in the crowd but behaved himself and Chris martin held his own against the veterans with a well received performance singing hits like “Big Deal”. Another was Barrington Levy who hasn’t performed in Jamaica for a long time. He gave his fans a treat even bringing on rapper Shyne on stage (who I thought was still in prison) to perform the hit single they did together “Bad Boyz”.
By the time the main act Supa Cat touched the stage, it was around 4:30 am and the bad thing about an older crowd is their capacity to stay up late. So during his set patrons steadily left the venue and you still had the likes of Luciano and Tarrus Riley left to perform. Even I ended up leaving before their set.
But in conclusion, dancehall night had managed to bring out the larger crowd as usual and probably due to the lower cost for entry, but with no international night or acts could this year staging be considered a success? I’d say it was 50/50. I applaud the move to stay true to the name and there’s definitely room for improvement.
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