Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest announced today that the 2006 event would feature a high profile line-up of A-list stars when the event has its renewal in Montego Bay.
In a special Reggae Breakfast on Tuesday morning, the media and Montego Bay’s business community were updated on some of the plans for the staging of this year’s event. Members of the media from Montego Bay and Western Jamaica were introduced to the new board, which Summerfest Productions has stated is aimed at helping the organisation to deliver its promise of putting ‘Jamaica’s greatest and the world’s best’ on stage at Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest 2006.
Johnny Gourzong, executive director, said, “The involvement and support of the business community is critical to the success of Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest. We have been very fortunate throughout the years with the assistance from the hotels and the airlines, but we want to broaden that community of stakeholders to include all business operators that benefit from the staging of this event.”
Summerfest Productions, promoters of Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest, is expected to spend more than the $50 million that they spent to host the show last year. The promoters, however, did not state the budget for the staging of this year’s event. “It is a considerable and significant budget and that is why we need the business community and that is why we are encouraging all the fans to come out,” he said.
Some exciting new themes, the organisers said, have been added to Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest for this year. Director of Marketing for Summerfest Productions, Jomo Cato delivered a presentation which highlighted the financial boost that the event brings to Jamaica and showcased some exciting new plans for 2006.
The festival blasts off on Sunday July 16 with the new Vibes Island Beach Party. The new beach event will feature Jamaica’s hottest selectors, the Reggae on the Runway fashion segment, the White House Fish Fiesta, a stew peas cook-off, domino and ludo championships and all-inclusive Red Stripe.
On Monday July 17, the vibes moves onto the Hip Strip for a free street party themed Mad Mondays Mobay. This event will be staged in partnership with the Hip Strip community and will be a blend of the Mobay Night out street fair, boosted by the energy of selectors from Jamaica’s biggest street dances. Mad Monday will also feature arts, craft and the best cuisine from the restaurants on the hip strip.
Dancehall icons Beenie man and Bounty Killer will headline the highly anticipated Thursday night event Stormfront: The Explosive dancehall night. They will be joined by dancehall’s top-shelf acts, Capleton, Elephant Man and Lady Saw and hot artists like Baby Cham and Busy Signal.
At least three major international stars will be amongst the headliners for IGNITION the concert scheduled for Friday July 21. Sizzla, the major Jamaican headliner will fly the flag of Jamrock among international heavyweights.
On Saturday July 20, the festival climaxes with The Summit, with perennial crowd pleaser Beres Hammond expected to thrill, as well as the equally enduring Buju Banton. The organisers said more international stars would be joining the Saturday night line-up.
A moment of silence was observed as a mark of respect for the late Lucille Lue, ‘Miss Lue,’ who Russell said “gave her all to Reggae Sumfest”
Meanwhile, Summerfest Productions promised that this year’s show would be the biggest and the best ever staging of the reggae festival since the show’s 1993 inauguration.
The promoters say they expect to be in a position to announce the identities of international acts who they are now in negotiation with as early as next week, when the launch moves to Kingston.
“The negotiations with international acts is a delicate matter and we just cannot afford to name any of these acts until everything has been concluded. It would be jeopordising the actual contracting of the act,” Gourzong explained.
He added that they intend to revamp the Wednesday night parties this year to be called Top Ranking, which is a salute to foundation era of dancehall. “We expect to make an announcement on that in the coming days but at present we are doing a fine-tuning,” Gourzong stated.
-HORACE HINES, Observer staff reporter