Robert Russel, Marlene Malahoo Forte and Joe Bogdonovich talk Reggae Sumfest and the State of Emergency over some drinks.

Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Marlene Malahoo Forte, has given assurances to the organizers of Reggae Sumfest that she stands ready to make representations on their behalf to ensure that the Enhanced Security Measures that have been rolled out in the parish of St James under the State of Public Emergency do not adversely impact the 26th staging of the music festival.  Reggae Sumfest 2018 will take place at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay, St. James from July 15 to 22, 2018.  The festival is dubbed ‘the world’s greatest music festival’.

Following a recent meeting with the main organizers of Reggae Sumfest, Joe Bogdanovich of Downsound Records and Robert Russell, Deputy Chairman of Reggae Sumfest, Malahoo Forte said that she was pleased to hear from the businessmen, who declared their support of the extension of the State of Public Emergency, while candidly sharing their concerns about any logistic issue that may impact the staging of the music festival.

Malahoo Forte, who is also Jamaica’s Attorney General said, “We had a very candid and cordial meeting.  The main issue discussed was the likely impact of the extension of the State of Public Emergency on Reggae Sumfest 2018.  Given the importance of the festival to the economy and the fact that my St James West Central Constituency is the home of the event, I assured the businessmen that I stand ready to make representation on their behalf to ensure that the enhanced safety and security objectives of the State are realised in ways that do not negatively impact the organizers, goods and service providers, patrons and everyone involved in the staging of the festival.”

Mrs. Malahoo Forte said she will be keeping a close watch and she stands ready to have necessary dialogue with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the event, which has proven over the years to be a main bread-earner for citizens of St. James, is properly managed and implemented in the context of a State of Public Emergency.

“Music is regarded as one of the world’s most potent unifying forces and Reggae Sumfest brings people from all walks of life together.  In addition, the event provides much needed seasonal employment for our local citizens, a number of whom are from my St. James West Central Constituency.  Over the years, Reggae Sumfest has been a main bread-earner for the people.  It has also played a major role in attracting visitors to our second city. This has a huge financial impact on our country’s economy.  Patrons support the local transport sector, craft sector, store operators and of course our restaurants and places of amusements. The event is a major income earner for citizens.  From my positions as Member of Parliament and Attorney General, I will do whatever is within my powers to ensure that the appropriate balance is struck.”

Meanwhile, CEO of Downsound Music, Joe Bogdonovich is excited about this year’s show which kicks off on Sunday, July 15, with a Colourfest Beach Party, which will be followed by Street dance along Montego Bay’s Hip Strip on July 16, an All-White party at Pier One on June 17 before the much-anticipated World Sound Clash, also at Pier One, on July 19 and the two mega nights at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre on July 20 and 21. Included also is Blitz at Hard Rock Café on July 18 and a Reggae Industry Symposium at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on July 20 and the Morning Medz at Dump Up Beach on the morning of July 22.

According to Bogdonovich, “We are in high spirits as we look forward to the 26th staging of Reggae Sumfest. We have added a few new events this year which we know will be well supported.  We love Montego Bay and we always seek to give the people what they want. The line-up for the two nights at Catherine Hall is the best. We have the Boss, Beres Hammond, Grammy winning Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and the Fireman Capleton as well as Maxi Priest who is well loved by all. In addition the crowd’s favourites are there and we should have a great show”.