Renowned Jamaican music festival, Reggae Sumfest, has been criticized for excluding certain artists, particularly those who offer more conscious music, resulting in concert-goers missing out on quality entertainment. The claims were made by Junior Reid, a respected reggae crooner while speaking at the launch of his own event last week.
In response, Skatta Burrell, a member of the Sumfest organizing committee, addressed the issue through an Instagram post over the weekend. Burrell explained some of the challenges the festival faces, including the significant disparity in costs between entertainers acting as promoters and those solely focusing on organizing events. However, Burrell also lauds Junior Reid for bringing top acts to his upcoming birthday bash, which includes a lineup of reggae artists slated to perform.
“It’s easy to point the Finger. Reggae Icon Junior Reid has an upcoming birthday bash, and the lineup is filled with reggae acts slated to perform. Respect to Him for bringing these top acts to the stage.”
Burrell’s post, while acknowledging the challenges faced by Reggae Sumfest, clarifies that the festival is doing its best to support artists while keeping the event financially viable. The post also highlights the need for unity and collaboration between artists and event promoters to keep Jamaica’s reggae culture alive and thriving.
“Unfortunately, an artist playing the role of a promoter will always get huge support from his co-workers than regular persons producing a show. We can only afford so many acts, while artists are always willing to show up and perform for another artist for free out of mutual respect. Reggae festivals in Jamaica are struggling to survive, so let’s work together to build back our culture currently on life support,” Burrell added.
It’s worth noting that Reid has not graced the Reggae Sumfest stage in decades and launched his own event, One Blood Family Fest, last Tuesday at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. Reid noted the lack of support from the festival as the impetus to create his own event.