BY HORACE HINES—-
MONTEGO BAY, St James – Opposition spokesman on tourism Ed Bartlett is of the view that Jamaica needs to offer several more reggae festivals annually to complement Reggae Sumfest, if the nation is to become “the music centre of the world.”
” The fact is that every country needs to have a signature entertainment product. I think that for the reggae presentation, Sumfest is definitely a signature product which has been iconic in its own way and has served to emphasise the quality of the music and has indeed established Jamaica as a key centre for enjoying the fullest of reggae’s offerings,” Bartlett noted.
“But this is something we must try to do more that once per year. We must have other such festivals.”
Bartlett, who was speaking to the Jamaica Observer last week Wednesday during the Montego Bay launch of Reggae Sumfest 2012 at the Iberostar Hotel, described this year’s staging of the event as “a signature package”.
” Indeed it is the greatest reggae show on earth and it is one that has inspired thousands of visitors to come to the shores of Jamaica in the last 20 years,” he argued.
Meanwhile, Johnny Gourzong, the executive producer of the event, noted that this year’s staging of Dancehall Night will parade the future stars of the genre.
“This year I would like to say that this Dancehall Night is the future of dancehall. Because in addition to the likes of Beenie Man, Bounti Killa, Lady Saw—who we are going to crown this year as Queen of Dancehall — we have the future of dancehall,” said Gourzong.
The 20th anniversary of Reggae Sumfest starts on Sunday with the traditional beach party at the Aquasol Theme Park in Montego Bay.
The main nights take place at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex, also in that resort city.
American R& B singer R Kelly is booked to headline International Night 2, scheduled for Saturday July, 21.
Other top acts are Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley, Bunny Wailer — who is part of a special tribute to Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence — and Protoje.
Pop singer Trey Songz is headliner for International Night I which also features Tessane Chin and Tarrus Riley. There is also a Tribute to the Greats segment, showcasing Rocksteady greats such as John Holt, Leroy Sibbles, Roots-Reggae trio the Mighty Diamonds and Dancehall deejay Yellowman.