by Kadine N. Ferguson, Entertainment Reporter

 

Reggae Sumfest 2016 manifested in what can only be deemed – a well needed revamping of the world’s foremost authentic Reggae Music Festival (RMF).

Branded “Our Music, Our Festival”, this fresh approach to the series was preceded by new management, with Downsound Productions’ CEO, Josef Bogdanovich at the helm, and a new format of two nights instead of the usual three, which featured some of Jamaica’s finest Reggae and Dancehall artistes.

Also included in this new package, live streaming of the entire event to virtual patrons – local and global – using 360-degree video technology.

Hosted at the Catherine Hall Festival Grounds, Montego Bay, St. James from Friday, July 22nd to Saturday, July 23rd, Reggae Sumfest 2016 seemed to have been geared towards providing its most valued stakeholders – the patrons – with a new and authentic experience, and it certainly delivered.

Night 1 had a massive turnout as patrons came out to support their favourite artistes, including the likes of Nesbeth who delivered a powerful and equally emotional performance dedicated to his late wife Ann-Marie Elliot Nesbeth, the young but emerging talent Masicka, the Sivva Gad Ding Dong, the gender conforming Harry Toddler who reminded us that “badman nuh dress like girl”, the “Gyal You a Party Animal” hitmaker and the man who insists he’s rich, Mr. Tanto Black himself who – if patrons were to be honest –  actually delivered quite the thorough performance despite falling to the ground comically in the process.

All these artistes took the night in their own right, but it was the performances of Spice, Dexta Daps, Romain Virgo, Agent Sasco, I-Octane, Bounty Killer, Popcaan and Beenie man, in no particular order, that really took the first night to another level.

Photo by: Benjamin Asomoah

Spice with her saucy performance went as far as to remind us who and what it means to be the boss of Dancehall. Dexta Daps and Romain Virgo – who came out on two different occasions – seemed to have been on a successfully completed mission to really woo their female fans.

Major Myjah Photo by: Benjamin Asomoah

The veteran Bounty Killer gave us more than we could ask for by adding an international twist, bringing in the likes of Aisha Davis to perform the hit “It’s a Party” and later introduced his millennial offspring, Major Myjah.

 

Agent Sasco with his intergenerational appeal opened with his popular hit “Hand Inna Di Air” and closed with “Almight Protect” backed by a choral ensemble.

Similarly, I-Octane in his gold and black post-apocalyptic outfit delivered one of the most energetic and interactive performances of the night, belting some of his most popular hits including “Nah Wash (Too Licky Licky)”, “Buss a Blank” and “Wine And Jiggle”.

Closing Night 1 was Beenie Man, having been in the industry for 26 years, reminded us why he is the crowned King of the Dancehall. During his performance, he invited a number of additional acts including the one and only Tommy Lee, and Jahmeil (Foster) who made sure to make substantive use of the opportunity.

Tarrus Riley Photo by: Benjamin Asomoah

 

Reggae Night on Day 2 saw the end of Sumfest 2016 with nothing less than spectacular performances from Tarrus Riley, Sanchez, Barrington Levy and his protégé Shyne, Christopher Martin, Busy Signal, Super Cat, Luciano and some honourable mentions including Dann I, Nicky Silk and Nature.

Reggae Sumfest 2016 with its new and improved changes, certainly demonstrated that less can definitely mean more.