JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the virtual staging of Reggae Sumfest 2020 was a major boost for Jamaica and the local tourism sector, with more than two million viewers tuning in to watch the July 20 to 25 event.

Speaking to JIS News, Minister Bartlett said it is his understanding that when the Middle East and Africa are factored in, the viewership will be even higher.

He said that the event’s organisers must be commended for a job well done and for putting on a first-class production that showed the world the depth of the island’s rich entertainment culture.

“It was a first-class masterpiece and the organisers must be commended for putting this all together in such a relatively short time,” Mr. Bartlett noted.

“And what else can be said about securing that partnership with Facebook and Instagram to stream the event live… that was simply brilliant and gave our local entertainers the kind of platform that can only further boost their careers,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett said that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is pleased to have been a part of the event and look forward to many more collaborations with the Reggae Sumfest team for years to come.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Downsound Entertainment, Producers of Reggae Sumfest, Joe Bogdanovich, told JIS News that not only was the production “superb” but the performances by the local slate of artistes were “scintillating”.

“They all made extraordinary efforts to generate the energy and excitement, which up to now, were only associated with physical audiences. Many viewers shared that they felt as if they were actually at the stage show. That showed that our selection of artistes was on point,” he noted.

“We must also single out the creativity and professionalism of the technical production. That area got some very high marks from the viewing public. The stage design, lighting, sound were all first-class and we demonstrated clearly that Jamaica is capable of putting on a show that could compare to any at the global level. We are very satisfied, and I believe justifiably proud of our first virtual Reggae Sumfest. It was, undoubtedly, an amazing success,” Mr. Bogdanovich said

He noted that social media giants Facebook and Instagram were “ecstatic”, adding that “I believe that we exceeded their expectations”.

Mr. Bogdanovich pointed out that with only three weeks of preparation, the Downsound Entertainment team was able to put together a great line-up of artistes, engaged some of the best technical professionals in the entertainment industry, and garnered the support of major sponsors to execute a show that “was record-breaking”.

“It was also a show that supported the issue of Black Lives Matter… . .I believe that they (Instagram and Facebook) would absolutely work with us again,” the Downsound CEO added.

“We received numerous comments from Jamaicans abroad about their pride in seeing such an amazing representation of their home country. Many thanked our presenting sponsor, the Jamaica Tourist Board, for facilitating the production.

“Certainly, our tourism product will benefit immensely from the exposure it received. Also, our music industry and performers will gain much from this exposure. It showed our resilience to have been able to achieve this even under the challenges due to the coronavirus (COVID 19),” Mr. Bogdanovich said.

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