Get Ready for Sumfest 2009

Music lovers all over Jamaica, and indeed the world, are looking forward to this year’s staging of Reggae Sumfest. Organisers Johnny Gourzong and Robert Russell announced this week that Reggae Sumfest 2009 will be dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson, though how the King of Pop will be memorialized has not yet been outlined. The July 19th – 25th event will feature some of the Who`s Who of reggae and dancehall, including Damian `Jr. Gong` Marley, the doctor, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Tarrus Riley, Etana, Da`ville, Queen Ifrica, Elephant Man, Morgan Heritage, Lady Saw, Busy Signal, Spice, Kip Rich, D`Angel, Flippa Mafia, Jah Cure and Coco T.

The world’s best-known showcase of reggae music will take place from July 19-25 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The July 19 beach party and the ensuing three days of epic live performances starting with Dancehall Night on Thursday, July 23, that make up the annual event, will captivate the thousands of tourists and Jamaicans alike who make the trek each year to the Second City for the Mecca of reggae music festivals and Summerfest Productions is looking to make this year’s event another ‘one to remember’.

American singers Toni Braxton, Neyo as well as Nas and R&B star Jazmine Sullivan are the top international performers added to Reggae Sumfest, Braxton has won six Grammy Awards and has sold over forty million records worldwide. Her number-one single, `Un-break My Heart,’ is the second biggest selling single by a female singer in Billboard history. Ne-Yo has had five top ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist and two number-one albums on the Billboard 200. He has also amassed a catalog of chart-topping songs written for other artists. In 2006 he released his debut album, In My Own Word, which contained the US number one hit `So Sick.`

This year’s feast of reggae music will take place from July 19-25 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The July 19 beach party and the ensuing three days of epic live performances starting with Dancehall Night on Thursday, July 23 will captivate the thousands of tourists and Jamaicans alike who make the trek each year to this, the Mecca of reggae music festivals. Summerfest Productions is looking to make this years’ Reggae Sumfest, another ‘one to remember’. Sponsors for the 2009 event include Digicel, Air Jamaica, Jamrock Magazine, Ocean Spray and the Jamaica Tourist Board among others.


If you haven’t booked your Sumfest hotel room yet, my two recommendations are:
ALTAMONT WEST, which dubs itself as ‘the epitome of style and service’ is located right on the main beach-level road through the Hip Strip and in front of the old Hospital beach, this small boutique hotel is perfect for the stylish crew who need a home from home with all the trimmings at an affordable price. Breakfast is included in the US$90 per person rate, and there is the opportunity to dine at the fabulous in-house gourmet restaurant Wine With Me.

HOLIDAY INN SUNSPREE: 500+ rooms operated by owners of Kingston’s Courtleigh and Knutsford Court hotels, popular with Black Americans and Jamaican families. All inclusive Jamaican rates of US$85 per night with children under 12 staying and eating free. Excellent buffet meals, burger-and-fries grill and bars till 2 am, good beach, spa and first class service.

Roger Guenveur Smith, film actor, director and writer, star of the recent blockbusters “American Gangster” and “Fighting” and who plays a lead role in the new Jamaican film ‘Betta Mus Come’, was a featured performer at this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s event: “Giving Voice: The Power of Words in African American Culture.” Running from June 24 through July 5, the Festival is held outdoors annually on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums.

Roger at Flashpoint Film Festival 2007
Sponsored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the program featured poetry, storytelling, radio, humor and theater, examining and celebrating the role that African American oral tradition has played in shaping American culture.

Roger’s performance of his critically acclaimed one-man presentation of Frederick Douglas NOW, readings from the sayings of the noted Black American icon, was podcast live on Sunday July 5 and watched by fans around the world. Roger Guenveur Smith’s credits include roles in several Spike Lee films including Do The Right Thing, and especially the film adaptation of his own award-winning play A Huey P. Newton Story. You can watch an excerpt of Frederick Douglas NOW here:

In an effort to further formalize and organize the activities of the Jamaican film and television industries, all film and television professionals are invited to attend the inaugural meeting of a professional association, the Jamaica Audio Visual Association on July 18th 2009 at 10 a.m. at Jamaica Trade and Invest, on Trafalgar Road in Kingston.

The new Audio Visual Association seeks to bring together integrated industry sectors to be represented by an inclusive organization that embraces a wide cross section of industry professionals. At this first general meeting of the association, film and television professionals will have the opportunity to develop a mandate for the association, create its bylaws, and elect a board that will represent the industry and seek to increase productivity and maximize economic viability.

Since the beginning of 2009 several film and television professionals have been participating in the process of developing recommendations to the Government of Jamaica to create a comprehensive film policy to guide the development of the industry, its practices and processes. Resulting from this effort, in May 2009, a Film Policy Committee has been convened by The Cabinet to which the recommendations from the industry were presented for consideration.

The association will seek to bear influence and represent the interest of its members in the process of government policy development and the drafting of enabling legislation, to ensure that the policy is representative of its members concerns and needs and serves as blueprint for industry development. The stated objectives of the proposed policy, is to create an environment that will stimulate growth, provide jobs, increase wealth creation and prepare the industry for global participation and competitiveness.

See you there!


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