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Countdown Begins To World’s Greatest Reggae Festival

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In exactly two days, the ‘World’s Greatest Reggae Festival’ will be unleashed in Montego Bay, Jamaica as the 15th annual Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest gets underway.

The 2007 event kicks off officially on Sunday, July 15th with a with a Beach Party featuring the Fab 5 band as well as popular sound systems and deejays. The Fab 5 band, formed in 1970, is Jamaica’s pre-eminent popular band. and will be honored at the festival, set for July 15 – 21st in Mo Bay.

The band’s first recording, “Come Back And Stay,” was number one in Jamaica, and in their first year on the road, and for the following two years, they won the only available awards, the Swing Awards for best band of 1971-72, 1972-73 and 1973-74. They also took the El Suzie Award as Joint Top Road and Dance Band for 1975-76 and the RJR Listeners’ Award for Best Band in 1980.

They backed Johnny Nash on all the reggae cuts comprising most of his platinum album “I Can See Clearly Now.” Two singles from that album, “Guava Jelly” and “Stir It Up,” established Bob Marley as a major songwriter on the international scene.

Sumfest will continue on Thursday July 19th with Xplosion featuring a stellar line-up of the hottest reggae stars under the sun. They include Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Cham, Elephant Man, Movado, Lady Saw, Vybz Kartel, Vegas, Anthony B, Chuck Fenda, Wayne Marshall, Macka Diamond, Ninja Man, Voice Mail, Busy Signal, Aidonia, Gyptian, Lutan Fyah, Kip Rich and Munga Honourable.
Among the top reggae performers this year will be Beenie Man, Bounty Killa, Shaggy, Cham, Elephant Man, Movado, Lady Saw, Beres Hammond, Richie Spice, Buju Banton and Da’Ville. But the focus will not be entirely on reggae.

This will be followed by Evolution, with internationally renown rapper and actor, LL Cool J, soca Queen, Allison Hinds, Shaggy, Hammond, Banton, Morgan Heritage, Spice, Da’Ville, Etana and Christopher Martin on July 20th.

The English-born, Bajan “Queen of Soca” is known widely for her titillating performances that is sure to set off “Fireworks” and take her audience on a ride. Hinds produced her first hit in the year 1996, “Ragamuffin, which won the Barbados’ Crop Over Festival.

The curtains come down on the reggae party of the year on Saturday July 21st with the Mary J. Blige, Tanya Stephens, Tarrus Riley, Cherine Anderson, Tessanne Chin and Richie Spice. Blige is a phenomenal artist known for hits like “Be Without You”, ‘No More Drama,’ and ‘Not Gon’ Cry.’ She last performed in Jamaica in 1997 at the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival and continues to dominate the charts with her album The Breakthrough. She is recognized as one of today’s brightest R&B stars and was the winner of nine Billboard Music Awards and two American Music Awards in 2006, and three Grammy awards.

Last minute travel packages can be obtained by calling Air Jamaica Vacations. For tickets and more info. on the festival, log on to www.reggaesumfest.com. Sponsors include Red Stripe, Air Jamaica, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Digicel, Wata and Ciclon.

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Written by Staff Writer