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Senior staff reporter—-


Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange (center) flanked by Tourism Adviser Delano Seiveright (left) and reggae singer Christopher Martin at the recent launch of Reggae Sumfest 2017 in New York.

Reggae Sumfest ticket sales so far this year indicate record crowds for the annual event scheduled for Montego Bay, in early July.In a response to the Jamaica Observer on Friday, the promoters said that with less than two months to go before the event opens on July 16, “there have been record high ticket sales locally and internationally, with 5,000 early tickets already sold”.

“That statistic, incorporated with reports from several hotels in and around Montego Bay noting very high bookings, signals that this year’s festival may be the biggest and best supported in years,” they added.

Reggae Sumfest is now owned by Downsound Entertainment, whose CEO Joe Bogdanovich attributes the surge in ticket sales primarily to the extensive research conducted by the company into creating an ultimate Jamaican Reggae experience for lovers of the genre, and the enhanced appeal of the Jamaican tourism product over the past year.

“This has resulted in the promotional team of Sumfest undertaking a far-reaching campaign to celebrate Sumfest’s 25th anniversary in a big way,” Bogdanovich added.

He noted that marketing activities undertaken already by his promotional team include a countrywide radio campaign on top urban stations in the United States, targeting the cities and suburbs of Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

“Such high local and international ticket sales this early, shows that Sumfest has a strong appeal across the board,” Bogdanovich stated.


Interestingly this year Reggae Sumfest had four distinct launches in four different cities — Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami and New York.Commenting on the Miami launch, Bogdanovich said it had a great impact, in terms of further promoting both the Reggae Sumfest and Red Stripe brands.

“That event gave us an opportunity to both increase awareness for Sumfest as well as gauge the levels of interest among different groups, and the feedback was very promising,” he said.

The fourth and final launch took take place on May 18 at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay.

The launches were done in conjunction with presenting the main sponsor, Red Stripe, to promote and bring further awareness to both brands, Bogdanovich pointed out.

Bogdanovich also noted that Sumfest marketing team’s efforts have also been boosted by the support of the Ministry of Tourism, and its lead agency the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), who have been partnering with Sumfest on promotional activities abroad.


“The entire team has worked tirelessly to produce the best experience possible, especially as this is the 25th anniversary, and it is very encouraging to see that all our hard work has been well received. We have created what I believe will be the best staging thus far of Reggae Sumfest; I am certain fans will not be disappointed,” he said.

According to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett’s senior adviser, Delano Seiveright, who has been actively engaged in the ministry’s input into the campaign, Sumfest is a critical part of the ministry’s overall Entertainment Tourism Linkages Network strategy, that is driving increased visitor arrivals and more spend in the local economy.

“You saw, for example, the success of carnival in Jamaica, resulting in a record number of tourists visiting Kingston, contributing to a 34 per cent increase in the number of visitors coming through the city’s international airport in the first three weeks of April,” Seiveright noted.

He said that this had contributed immensely to driving the local economy and filling up hotels and private homes and apartments.

“Sumfest, and events of its kind, can contribute to the tourism minister’s vision of significantly enhancing Jamaica’s product by driving more visitor traffic, and enhancing Jamaica’s standing as a place for world-class and unique entertainment experiences,” he added.

Sean Paul

Sean Paul

Sumfest will be held July 16-22 at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica. The line up includes reggae and dancehall stars — Sean Paul, Alkaline, Sizzla, Mavado, Bounti Killa, Queen Ifrica, Sean Kingston, Beenie Man, Christopher Martin and Jah Cure, among several others.

As part of the launch activities, Red Stripe is awarding 50 lucky bottle cap holders in the US an opportunity to travel to Jamaica and take part in the Sum

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