MONTEGO BAY, ST James – This year’s staging of Sumfest, the most successful reggae festival globally, will be dedicated to the memory of the late Michael Jackson, ‘King of Pop’.
“This year is going to be dedicated to Michael Jackson. Just like the BET awards, performers will sing some of Michael’s songs and some of them are going to do some special songs in memory of the greatest entertainer I have ever seen in my lifetime and, I am sure, in yours as well,” Robert Russell, chairman of Summerfest Promotions, stated during his address, earlier this week at the Reggae Sumfest launch at the Pier One Restaurant, Montego Bay.
Executive Director Johnny Gourzong made the disclosure that Rastafarian crooner Jah Cure will become the first performer from Montego Bay billed as the closing act at Sumfest.
“Jah Cure will be the first Montegonian to close as night not only on Sumfest but on Reggae Sunsplash,” Gourzong revealed.
In the meantime, self-proclaimed King of the Dancehall, Beenie Man, who has been performing since he was five years old, will be honoured at the 17th staging of the festival.
“We will be celebrating 13 years with Beenie, who has been on 14 out of the 16 at Sumfest. He is going to be on 15 out of 17. Beenie has made a fantastic contribution to the success of Reggae Sumfest and we are going to celebrate and honour Beenie this year. He has been a fantastic,” Gourzong reiterated.
Beenie man first appeared on Sunfest in 1993, for a 15-minute stint.
The event, which will run from July 19th – 25th, will feature some of the finest reggae and dancehall performers, including Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Elephant Man, Lady Saw, Busy Signal, Spice, Kip Rich, D’Angel, Flippa Mafia, Morgan Heritage, Jah Cure, Coco T, Tarrus Riley, Etana, Da’ville, Rhaatid and Queen Ifrica, as well as Nas, R&B star Jazmine Sullivan and six-time Grammy awardee Toni Braxton .
Sponsors for the 2009 event include Digicel, Air Jamaica, Jamrock Magazine, Ocean Spray and the Jamaica Tourist Board, among others.
Reggae Sumfest is presented annually by Sumfest Productions.