‘A taste of Reggae Sumfest’ goes virtual with free concerts

Koffee poses backstage with her Best Reggae Album award for "Rapture."
REUTERS Monica Almeida, File

Anyone who has ever experienced Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest fully comprehend that the July festival at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay has always offered a full course serving of the island’s home-grown music — in all forms.

Presenters of Jamaica’s indigenous music since 1993, a claim by Summerfest Productions of staging the “greatest reggae show earth” has offered show-stopping performances highlighting ska, rock-steady, lover’s rock and dancehall.

However, with limited travel and the still looming threat posed by COVID-19 Downsound Entertainment pledged to deliver “A Taste of Reggae Sumfest” during an entire week of free Facebook showcases.

Since July 20, fans of the genre have been sampling vintage showcases from the “biggest little reggae festival in the world” series — among them appearances by Cocoa Tea, Beres Hammond, Lady Saw, Mavado, Kartel, and Shabba Ranks,

And while nostalgic performances have already surpassed expectations of virtual viewing on the Facebook social media platform, the bar will be raised higher on the final nights of Jul. 24 and 25 with a spotlight on current influencers.

Beginning at 8:00 pm on July 24, the lineup bills Ding Dong, Shensea, Konshens, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Tanto Metro, Ishawna, Agent Sasco, Frisco Kid and those are not all.

The following night another Facebook Live edition promises this year’s Grammy winner Koffee, Gyptian, Freddie McGregor, Tarrus Riley, Maxi Priest – and those are not all.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement, our team explored a range of ideas and decided to pursue a partnership with Facebook,” Joe Bogdanovich, chairman and CEO of Downsound Entertainment (producers of Reggae Sumfest) said.

“Facebook welcomed the opportunity and agreed to host a week of events. This initiative is in keeping with the creativity and innovation that is characteristic of the Sumfest team.”

Revered for presenting marathon reggae concert performances throughout the last July weekend in the month, the Caribbean’s premiere music festival is dedicated to a promise that despite COVID-19, the show must go on and in 2020 for free.

Next year’s live presentation is already sealed at July 18 to July 24, 2021.

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