Despite Red Stripe not being on board as title sponsors this year, Reggae Sumfest is still on course as it has already signed several big acts to its line-up for the event that will take place in Montego Bay from July 13-19.
Some of the artistes include Beenie Man, Richie Spice, Anthony B, Vybz Kartel, Wayne Marshall, Etana, Tarrus Riley, Demarco and Mavado. Robert Russell, chairman of Summerfest Productions , says the production team is in negotiations with several other local and international acts.
"We hope to offer the usual top-class entertainment package with all the best entertainers locally and some special overseas acts," said Russell.
"We will still ensure the same level of state-of-the-art lighting, sound and stage production that have characterised Sumfest."
While the Red Stripe brand has pulled out as title sponsors for the event, it is still the liquor sponsor. He says there are two major companies vying for title sponsorship but the discussions have not been concluded. He says discussions might not be completed in time for this year as the event will take place in two months but commitments have been made for years to come.
In addition, Digicel, Ocean Spray and Air Jamaica, the Jamaica Tourist Board and VP Records have once again signed on as major sponsors of the event. Supreme Ventures has signed as a Silver sponsor, Red Bull a Gold sponsor, and Jamrock Magazine is a Platinum sponsor.
Russell was also keen to point out that sponsors play a big role but the production team, especially the directors, helps to make the festival 'the greatest reggae show on earth'.
Reggae Sumfest and Summerfest Productions won Concert of the Year and Promoter of the Year awards at the 27th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards on May 4. Russell says the production team is proud of the achievements.
"I am very proud that we have received international recognition for a show that has been running since 1993. I want to thank the directors, artistes, musicians and security forces that put a lot of effort into putting on the show. Everybody worked hard to ensure that the festival is a success," he said.
Russell promises that the event will be a good one. It has been afforded the privilege of going beyond 2 a.m. because it has been designated as an national festival. This status, he says, might be the same for other events like Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and Jamaica Carnival.
"We have been designated as an national festival. That consideration is because of the amount of foreign visitors we attract. That is about 5,000 visitors and US$5 million in revenue. So we have been afforded the privilege of going later than 2 a.m. We will close the festival at the normal times," he said.