JM | May 24, 2022

Sumfest’s Joe Bogdanovich confident the show will go on despite current fifth wave

Ategie Edwards

Ategie Edwards / Our Today

Joe Bogdanovich, Reggae Sumfest executive producer and chairman and CEO of Down Sound Entertainment (left) and Robert Russell, Reggae Sumfest Director and Deputy Chairman. (Photo: Billboard)

After a two year absence, Reggae Sumfest boss Joe Bogdanovich has happily announced the festival’s comeback, unperturbed by the current fifth wave of COVID-19 and having all confidence in the Government’s ability to effectively manage the pandemic.

While not completely dismissing the adverse effects the fifth wave could potentially have, Bogdanovich, during his address at the Sumfest media launch held last Thurday (May 19) at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay, St James, noted that along with the government’s efforts, the festival’s team would also ensure protocols are in place to safeguard patrons.

“I am not overly concerned. It’s July 18 to July 23. The show is two months away and I think we will be fine. I am confident that the Government will manage the situation effectively and the Sumfest team is committed to ensuring that the protocols are observed at all our gatherings and events,” he said.

Joe Bogdanovich, Reggae Sumfest executive producer and chairman and CEO of Down Sound Entertainment (left), and Robert Russell, Reggae Sumfest Director and Deputy Chairman (right), with upcoming Reggae Sumfest 2022 performer Shenseea. (Photo: Instagram @shenseea)

“I think the fifth wave is going to come and go and we have to move forward with day-to-day life and abide by the protocols,” the Sumfest boss added.

After two painful years, anticipation for the return of what has been dubbed, ‘the greatest show on earth’, is on a high.

“Reggae Sumfest will be awesome this year. We are thrilled to have reggae and dancehall music back on stage, live and direct. The past two years have been excruciating for us in the entertainment industry as we experienced a total shutdown of all events as the world grappled with COVID-19. Tonight is a celebration as we signal to Jamaica and the rest of the world [that] we are ready to welcome our loyal fans, all reggae and dancehall enthusiasts to Montego Bay between July 18 and 23,” Bogdanovich said.

Olivia Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, echoed the Reggae Sumfest executive producer’s sentiments of caution, urging patrons to take personal responsibility amid the ongoing pandemic.

“COVID is still with us; and is still threatening our health and livelihood. I am asking patrons to monitor the fifth wave of the novel coronavirus. While we must not panic, we should be monitoring the news of the fifth wave because the situation has implications for the country and could affect our industry and our plans for our diamond jubilee,” Grange said.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (left) gets a hearty welcome from Chairman of Downsound Entertainment, Joe Bogdanovich on arrival at the Iberostar Hotel on May 19 for the media launch of Reggae Sumfest 2022. Downsound is the promoter of the reggae festival which attracts visitors from all over the world. MinBartlett and his colleague, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange participated in the launch event.

On a lighter note, both Grange and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, welcomed the idea of the physical event returning to the island’s calendar, as it would drive the return of peoples of the world, resulting in tourism earnings.

“Events, festivals, exhibitions, meetings and conventions are huge traffic builders. They are drivers of visitors to destinations and so we encourage and support events of this nature,” Bartlett noted.

Said Grange: “The pandemic denied us the opportunity and pleasure of welcoming the peoples of the world to Jamaica for events such as Reggae Sumfest and I am very pleased to see that the show is back on the calendar this year. This evening’s launch is a testament that the sector is not only awake but is reasserting itself towards the national agenda of prosperity for all.”

With the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) being lifted in March, Bogdanovich highlighted entertainers and sponsors for their support on such short notice.

“It’s important for me to acknowledge all those individuals and organisations who have been integral to our ability to stage the 2022 festival. We were able to get to this point only with the support and cooperation of our artistes, who were quick to respond to our call. Many of our traditional sponsors readily committed their continued support and several new ones came on board,” the chairman and CEO of Downsound Entertainment said.


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