This year`s `world greatest show case` of reggae music will be dedicated to the memory of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Reggae Sumfest officials said this week.
With just days to go before Sumfest 2009 gets underway in Jamaica, Chairman Robert Russell, at the Montego Bay Launch of Reggae Sumfest at Pier 1 on June 30th, announced that this year’s staging will be dedicated to the `greatest entertainer in the world.`
Jackson had actually visited and performed in Jamaica in 1975 as a member of the Jackson 5. The group was hosted then by former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, at his home in Temple Meads, St Andrew. At the time, Seaga was opposition leader and head of the now ruling Jamaica Labor Party. The Jackson 5 was the opening act for Bob Marley and the Wailers at the outdoor National Stadium.
Russell said it is important that the top reggae show be dedicated to the top musical star, as the world continues to mourn the famed singer. Jackson passed away on Thursday, June 25th in Los Angeles after reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 50.
Caribbean fans have been among those joining millions around the world in mourning his sudden death.
The 17th annual Reggae Sumfest will get underway this July with the annual beach party at Cornwall Beach, featuring the sounds of many of Jamaica`s more popular local deejays including Errol Lee & the Bare Essentials, Cameal Davis, Khalil, Timeka Marshall, ZJ Ice, DJ Mix Master Marvin and Crazy Nei, backed by Danger Zone Super Strong.
But it is the Jagra Dancehall Night, July 23rd, that is sure to crank the heat of this resort haven up higher, as a slew of stars, including Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Lady Saw, Elephant Man, Busy Signal, Spice, Kip Rich, Flippa Mafia and D`Angel take over the stage.
On Friday, July 24th, American R&B stars Ne-Yo and Jazmine Sullivan are set to bring some smooth vibes to the festival while Morgan Heritage, Jah Cure, Coco T and Queen Ifrica are sure to thrill the conscious reggae followers.
The curtains come down on Saturday, July 25th with performances from multi-Grammy-winning star, Toni Braxton, Nas, Damian `Jr Gong` Marley, Tarrus Riley, Etana and Da`Ville among others.
Executive Director of Summerfest Productions, Johnny Gourzong, says air and hotels are going fast but can still be accessed through the site along with tickets, at www.reggaesumfest.com.
The Festival has devoted a section of its website to accommodation and fans can view a list of hotels in Montego Bay, as well as read short reviews and other information on the properties. Organizers say they will continue to add more properties as the deals are finalized.
Some of the hotel options available for patrons include the 5 star Fiesta Grand Palladium, which is a mere 25 minutes from the Sangster International Airport. This hotel boasts some 1,000 rooms, a fitness centre, a `club` for children, seven restaurants, and five swimming pools, and a spa.
Sponsors for the 2009 event include the Jamaica Tourist Board, Digicel, Air Jamaica, Jamrock Magazine, Ocean Spray, Jagra, Appleton, Carib Beer and Mackeson among others.
Reggae Sumfest brings in an estimated 5,000 visitors to the island, along with US$5 million in revenue to Jamaica, according to a survey done by the Jamaica Tourist Board. Reggae Sumfest is produced annually by Summerfest Productions.