Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Reggae Sumfest 2020 gets off the mark

Published:Saturday | October 26, 2019 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru/Gleaner Writer

With July 12-18 already revealed as the 2020 dates for Reggae Sumfest, CEO Josef Bogdanovich says he is now looking to book major acts for the week-long festival to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica. And although Bogdanovich has his wish list of exactly who he feels will pull a huge crowd inside the Catherine Hall venue, he was a bit reluctant to share it with The Gleaner.

“I can’t say it until the list is actualised,” he said. “However, I am confident that the line-up will be very good. I’m going for some big names,” the Downsound Entertainment head honcho said.

It was on September 13, two weeks after a surprise announcement of the return of Reggae Sunsplash made headlines, that the Sumfest organisers posted the dates for next year’s staging, very quietly on Instagram. Bogdanovich acquired the Reggae Sumfest brand in 2016 for an undisclosed sum and unveiled an ambitious two-year plan to restructure the event and boost earnings to the local economy, at that time estimated to be US$6 million annually. With the 2019 staging of the concert hailed as a major success, the organiser is focusing on eclipsing the record bumper crowd that was a huge part of the festival’s boast.

However, securing the rights to undertake much-needed expansion of the actual space inside the Urban Development Corporation-owned Catherine Hall venue is a challenge for the promoter, and he has been doing a lot of thinking. “Because I don’t control the venue, I can’t get a tractor and mow down some parts of it. But I know how I can get another 17 per cent capacity inside there, if allowed,” he said. And, ever the creative thinker, he has a plan of exactly what to do to achieve his goal without causing much disruption.

Among the plans is the erection of an additional stage, with the ultimate aim to transform Catherine Hall into a first-class entertainment venue.

Reggae Sumfest aside, Bogdanovich is focusing on revitalising his record company, Downsound Records, and to this end, he recently released a new single, Find It, with dancehall star Elephant Man. Bogdanovich is happy with the response to the single and seems particularly delighted to be working with Elephant Man again. “He’s amazing, he’s fun. Elephant Man is just what the dancehall needs.”

Considering the level of Bogdanovich’s enthusiasm, it is just possible that Ele will be among the artistes on the line-up for Reggae Sumfest 2020.