Reggae festivals tentatively set for end of 2021
Two of Jamaica's biggest reggae concerts, Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Sunsplash, are hoping to have face-to-face shows by year end.
In light of the entertainment sector being permitted to resume operations, organisers of both events say that if all continues to go well, physical concerts are highly likely. Reggae Sunsplash has tentatively set its show date for November 26 and 27 at the Grizzly's Plantation Cove in St Ann, while Reggae Sumfest is looking at a December date, possibly at Montego Bay's Catherine Hall.
In a release sent to the media yesterday, organisers of Reggae Sunsplash revealed that after a successful return to the entertainment scene last year, they are "exploring the possibility of a physical experience of the festival for a limited number of patrons over the age of 18" at the 100-acre property. Executive producer for Reggae Sunsplash, Tyrone Wilson, added that the COVID-19 pandemic required promoters to turn up their innovativeness and said they intend to use the concert brand to 'transform' the cultural entertainment sector and generate major returns to the country's economy. In 2020, Reggae Sunsplash returned after a 14-year hiatus, staging a virtual edition. According to statistics gathered by the organisers, the event pulled a viewership of more than 300,000 people from 25 countries.
Festival producer Randy Mattis said in the statement that the team is currently working with Kaboom Agency to secure acts, guaranteeing that 'the line-up will be attractive to a wide cross-section of fans.'
Meanwhile, Reggae Sumfest CEO Josef Bogdanovich says he and his team are in a 'wait-and-see' period.
Deployment of vaccines
"It really depends on the acquisition and deployment of vaccines and people waking up to take the vaccine because the rest of the world has taken on to it and are benefiting. There are a lot of people scared of taking the vaccine but vaccines have been around for a long time and I just pray that everyone wakes up and do what needs to be done," he said. "I am so impressed with the prime minister going out of his way in helping to reignite the entertainment industry. This is a big opportunity for us to get back to work and I think we gotta really own up as an industry and everyone needs to act responsibly and just operate by the law."
Bogdanovich also said that organisers are considering whether negative COVID test results need to be presented before allowing patrons in.
"Full vaccination is (also) a big possibility especially for the overseas market who I think will be coming here fully vaccinated anyway and then if you're not vaccinated, you have to take the test and it will have to be on us as management to ensure that. But people definitely have to understand the consequences and do everything to ensure their safety," he said.