Kingston , Jamaica – May 5, 2008.“Reggae Sumfest 2008 is definitely on for July 13-19, and will once again set standards as the Greatest Reggae Show on Earth”, remarked Johnny Gourzong, executive director of the festival.
2008 will mark the 16th presentation of the festival and, by all accounts, it’s shaping up to be another first-class event. As usual, the festival will kick off with the beach party at Tropical Beach on Sunday, July 13, featuring top sound systems. On Thursday, July 17 top dancehall performers will energise the full capacity crowd, while Friday and Saturday will continue the tradition of offering the finest reggae singers and bands, alongside top international stars.
Dicigel, Ocean Spray and Air Jamaica , the JTB and VP Records have once again signed on as major sponsors of the event while for the first time, Supreme Ventures has signed on as a Silver sponsor, Red Bull has come on board as a Gold sponsor and Jamrock Magazine as a Platinum sponsor. Negotiations are underway with several other companies who have expressed interest in supporting the event. Media support is once again very strong with CVM on board as the official TV station, Irie FM as the official radio, and the Jamaica Observer as Official newspaper. In addition FAME, HYPE TV, RE TV, ZIP FM, TVJ, Linkz FM, Vybz FM, Megajamz, Buzz Magazine, Jamaican Lifestyle and Whaddat.com, have added their support to the event.
After a seven-year stint as title sponsor, Red Stripe has taken the decision not to renew their title sponsorship for 2008. Organiser’s, Summerfest Productions report that while Red Stripe’s contribution was significant and they will miss working with the company on Sumfest it will in no way deter the festival. They believe in the importance of Reggae Sumfest as a national event that contributes in a large way to the overall economy and are determined to make Reggae Sumfest 2008 a big success with the help of their current sponsors.
In commenting on the decision of Red Stripe to withdraw its title sponsorship after seven years, Mr Gourzong said: “Red Stripe, in their role as title sponsor, has been integral to the success of the festival over the last seven years, and we wish to express our sincere thanks for that support. Red Stripe has taken a position against what they see as some very negative aspects of the dancehall music, and while we will certainly miss them, we appreciate and accept their decision. Our local performers have been integral to the success of Reggae Sumfest over the years. They are extremely talented and our music is world acclaimed, we do not need to use indecency or violence as a selling point. Regrettably the inclusion of violent and degrading lyrics in some songs by a few of our artistes is cause for concern as this could hurt the industry and alienate sponsors”.
The line up for Reggae Sumfest this year promises to be excellent. While not all contracts have yet been signed, a peek at the wish list for the festival revealed that the local line up promises to be as strong as ever. A long list of artistes are being targeted which include Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Mavado, Busy Signal, Jah Cure, Richie Spice, Macka Diamond ,Brick & Lace, Tami Chynn, , Erup, Queen I-Frica, Etana, Tarrus Riley, Anthony B, Voice Mail., Vybz Cartel,. Demarco, Courtney John. Harry Toddler. No clues were revealed for the International acts, however it was hinted that negotiations were ongoing with some very ‘big names’.
So, while there have been some rumblings in the music concert arena, Reggae Sumfest is still a must go event on the calendar for 2008, and promises to once again surpass the standards set in previous years.