Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the successful staging of Reggae Sumfest 2019 is a powerful endorsement of Jamaica’s rich musical history.
Speaking to JIS News at the show’s final night on Saturday (July 20), Mr. Holness said he was very impressed with the huge turnout of both local and international patrons.
“This is the biggest Sumfest ever. Just looking back at Reggae Sumfest [shows] that I have attended… even dating back to Reggae Sunsplash… I have never seen this level of crowd… and the atmosphere is also great…,” he said.
“And when you are getting the views and the statistics from what is being live-streamed and broadcast on other media it is clear that this music festival, celebrating reggae, has been taken to another level,” he added.
Mr. Holness praised the event’s promoter, Businessman Joe Bogdanovich, noting that he “has taken the time to understand the product… to invest in the product… to be patient with the product” and is now reaping the benefits.
“His investment… has paid off. I think from here on it can only get bigger,” he said.
He noted that the performers used the platform given to them “to send a very powerful message about Jamaica’s art and culture”, noting that not a single international act was used to boost the appeal of the event.
The Prime Minister said that the success of Reggae Sumfest reinforces the fact that music continues to be an important value-added component of the tourism sector.
“When people come to our country they travel to gain an experience, and it is the interaction of the natural environment… the built environment… and the culture that gives that distinct experience. If the experience is good, they will want to come back again and again, and that is what we want to create. This festival is a very good example of the experience of our culture,” he pointed out.
For his part, Director of Tourism, Donovan White, said Reggae Sumfest 2019 has exceeded all expectations and painted Jamaica “in a very good light”.
“It has been an amazing experience, the performances, the production, the execution, the quality, the ability to pull Jamaicans out to enjoy Jamaican performers has been just unbelievable,” he beamed.
“I don’t believe we have ever had a Sumfest of this magnitude as it relates to patrons…,” he told JIS News.
Mr. White said the event’s success has now positioned Jamaica to build on the narrative of being the entertainment destination of the Caribbean, adding that it also provides an opportunity for “us to put on 21 days of constant and consistent events that cannot be found anywhere else in the region”.
“We believe, from early estimates, that the impact of Sumfest this year is no less than a billion dollars in Montego Bay’s economy,” Mr. White said.
“We have seen about 10,000 visitors coming in [over] just a week for Reggae Sumfest,” he added.
Reggae Sumfest was held from July 14 to 20 in Montego Bay, and was highlighted by a two-night stage show on July 19 and 20 at the Catherine Hall complex.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) was a major sponsor of the event.