Sumfest committed to the people
Chairman and CEO of Downsound Entertainment Joe Bogdanovich has revealed that he and his team will be taking the 2020 staging of Reggae Sumfest to the virtual space. The announcement was made via press release on Friday. In that statement, Bogdanovich expressed that after cancelling the physical staging of the event due to COVID-19, his team began looking into ways they could still maintain a presence. A relationship between Facebook that was forged back in 2019 then led to a decision to host a weeklong list of activities across Facebook and Instagram come July 20.
In a subsequent interview with The Gleaner, Bogdanovich said the Reggae Sumfest brand needed to maintain its presence in this time, as it not only shows their commitment to the music but also to the country and its people.
“This is a sign that we are committed to the country, the music and the people. Many were disappointed when we announced that the event would be postponed until next year and we just wanted to ease a little of that disappointment,” he said. “This is a big opportunity for us to show that we are a brand that’s going to be around in good times and bad. We have been working for a number of years to strengthen our partnership with these online platforms, and it looks like now is showtime. This kind of show has never been done in reggae music on this kind of platform before, and so we believe it’s a very positive move that will be beneficial to everyone.”
Bogdanovich revealed that with activities coming to a halt in the entertainment sector due to COVID-19, seeking sponsorship for the virtual event has been a challenge. Nevertheless, he and his team have managed to organise the event in such a way, it will be free to the general public. For him though, potential earnings play second fiddle to what the event will do for reggae and dancehall music. “Sponsorship is tight because everybody is on the same playing field now, but the reason why we’re doing this is because it is a great opportunity to raise the bar and get everybody on a wider platform and a bigger range to be able to access great reggae and dancehall music,” he said. “At the end of the day, putting people on to the music and the level of talent we have in Jamaica is far more important. We’re going to execute this to the best of our ability and I think then sponsors will come in strong enough for us to be able to break even.”
So far, Daddy 1, Chronic Law, Lila Ike, Protoje, Sevana, Sizzla and Ding Dong have been confirmed for the event set for July 24. Bogdanovich says there are approximately 20 acts booked to perform and viewers would expect the same level of excitement Sumfest has been delivering for the past 27 years. “It’s going to be mad. I’m so excited about what the team has put together. All of us have been working diligently to really push the envelope to the maximum. We think we got the goods to do it and we’re going to let it rip.”