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A ‘flairy’ vibe at Reggae Sumfest All-White - R&B star Ne-Yo jets in to get inspiration for latest album

Published:Thursday | July 18, 2019 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/ Senior Gleaner Writer
Mezanne MooYoung was white hot.
Cordell ‘Skatta’ Burrell reps for the Reggae Sumfest team at All-White. With him is Sydia Valentine.
Sumfest All-White was the place to be for (from left) Jason Russell, Richard Ferdinand, Chevaughne Miller, Ne-yo (R&B star), Stayce Ingram and Philip Hofer.
From left: LaChandra Lewis, Brandi Parker and Lyneve Santos stick to the dress code at Reggae Sumfest All-White party.


If Reggae Sumfest’s All-White party Tuesday night at Pier One was any indication of what to expect come Friday and Saturday at the main venue, the Catherine Hall complex, festivalgoers are in for a treat.

The waterfront was packed to capacity, as revellers depicting ‘purity’ flocked the venue, surpassing last year’s numbers on the Night 2 of the weeklong event tagged the ‘world’s largest reggae festival’. There was no mistaking, All-White solidified the fact that the universal language of music has taken over the world. The party attracted visitors from various continents, and although dancehall sensation Ding Dong was not in the house, his song Flairy was the blueprint used to bring the vibes to a crescendo.

Slaves to the commandeering of DJs Smoke and Smurf, Tuesday night was unquestionably the precursor to the Buju, Beres, Chronixx (BBC) invasion, that many predict will change the landscape of Catherine Hall, and the face of reggae festivals in Jamaica.

Koffee’s Toast and Ganja Farmer received positive responses from the party people, and American singer and songwriter Ne-Yo, who is on island getting inspiration for his latest album, claimed ownership of one section of the seaside venue, rocking to the Romain Virgo/Agent Sasco Fade Away, unofficially declaring that Dutty Heart could not be swept with any broom.

Pier One ‘on fire’

The venue was on fire, and those who came out were satiated with the wide cross section of genres and the various eras from which DJ Smurf pulled.

His mastery at moving from old-school reggae to paying tribute to artistes booked to perform on the festival, mixed with hip hop and contemporary dance songs, went a far way in creating a vibe that will be etched in the minds of the audience for years to come.

His counterpart, DJ Smoke, the featured act for Tuesday’s party, is renowned for big shindigs such as Frenchmen and ‘Chilling’, but he was certainly nothing near ice-cold. In fact, he lit a furnace at Pier One that will take days to cool.

“Tonight is about Reggae Sumfest , our music, our festival,” Smurf claimed with pride, as he drew for hit after hit.

DownSound Entertainment team member and operator of Pier One, Robert Russell, was clearly excited about the crowd turnout Tuesday night.

He told The Gleaner that the Catherine Hall venue, the big stage for Festival Nights 1 and 2, on Friday and Saturday, was close to being sold out.

“Ultra VIP is sold out, and we have had to expand the venue to accommodate more persons, because we know there will be more people this year than we have ever had in the (festival’s) 26 years of existence,” said Russell.

Reggae Sumfest continues tonight with the highly anticipated Global Sound Clash at Pier One car park, featuring Ricky Trooper, Pink Panther, Warrior Sound, Yard Beat and King Turbo.