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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » LIVE PERFORMANCES AT REGGAE SUMFEST ARE REDUCED TO TWO NIGHTS!

LIVE PERFORMANCES AT REGGAE SUMFEST ARE REDUCED TO TWO NIGHTS!

BY BRIAN BONITTO—

 Josef Bogdanovich—-

REGGAE Sumfest’s live performances will be scaled down from three nights to two, according to Josef Bagdonovich — new chairman of Summerfest Promotions — organizers of the event.

“This will help to re-energize the event,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“Sumfest is a great Jamaican brand promoting dancehall and reggae. I have a lot of respect for it, but we don’t have an international brand. What we have is a concert that brings international acts,” he said.

Reggae Sumfest is scheduled for Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, from July 17-23.

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The American businessman is hoping to achieve his objective with the use of technology.“It’s about bringing international eyeballs to your island. We’re gonna bring reggae and dancehall into the international arena, while giving it a sense of vibrancy and authenticity by going viral… streaming in interactive 360 Virtual Reality. Fifty million people will be seeing it on their cellphones, laptop, television or any device for free,” he said.

He said Reggae Sumfest will be positioned to compete with major international festivals such as Reggae Geel in Belgium and Summerjam in Germany. Both festivals pull crowds of 25,000 to 30,000 people and the biggest reggae acts.

“It’s gonna take me a few years to be on that level, but we’re gonna bring acts that people want to see. We’re gonna reach out to the Caribbean, America and Europe. We have a marketing plan that will bring tourists here. And remember, this the homeland of reggae music,” he said.

Bogdanovich, head of dancehall label Downsound Records, acquired Reggae Sumfest a month ago. The official announcement was, however, made last week.

Asked what was his stake in Summerfest Promotions, he responded: “My life.”

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He said despite his dancehall connections, Reggae Sumfest will retain its diverse cast.

“It’s not Sting… or just a dancehall vibes. It’s a show of international quality and we have to abide by international standards. I’m looking into reggae acts from all over the world. I want the international market to know reggae is big… and I don’t want people to just be stuck on international acts as the the only reason to enjoy themselves,” he said.

Sting is reference to the annual Boxing Day concert held in Portmore, St Catherine. It caters to hardcore dancehall fans and has lyrical clashes as part of its format.

In 2014, Bogdanovich partnered with promoter Isaiah Laing to stream Sting to more than 170 countries.

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He is also majority shareholder in the Kingston Live Entertainment Group, which owns Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records in Kingston and Famous Nightclub in Portmore.

First held in 1993, Reggae Sumfest has rostered dancehall’s elite including Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Lady Saw and Capleton. High-profile pop acts, including rappers TI, Common, Usher, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, R Kelly, Ne-Yo, Mary J Blige, and Alicia Keys have also performed at the festival.

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