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JOE of DSR buys Reggae Sumfest brand

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JOE Bogdanovich, CEO of DownSound Records (DSR) has announced his company’s acquisition of the major Jamaican summer music festival brand, Reggae Sumfest.

Although the deal was done about three weeks ago in Kingston, a public confirmation of the deal was only made Monday by Bogdonavich and Summerfest Productions, former owners and founder of the annual summer music festival in Montego Bay, which features both local and foreign acts.

According to Bogdanovich, Summerfest’s CEO, Johnny Gourzong, felt that it was for a number of reasons, including the fact that both he and Robert Russell, Summerfest’s chairman, liked his “new and fresh” ideas to revitalise Reggae Sumfest.

“Over the years, his commitment to the music and to make things happen for the industry financially is like no other in today’s market,” Russell was quoted as saying.
Bogdanovich said that there will be major changes in the next two years for the brand, as 2016 will be the transitional year during which DSR will be working closely with Summerfest’s Gourzong, Russell and Tina Davis, who have developed the Sumfest brand over the past 25 years.

“In order to make this industry thrive, it’s critical that the home of reggae music gets its house in order,” Bogdanovich told the Jamaica Observer, yesterday.

“The theme of unity through music is a key factor for success in the festival business. Artistes must understand and work together — as well as the sponsors and government agencies — to accept the fact that reggae/dancehall is a natural resource of the country and that it’s the responsibility of the country for it to be developed and protected,” he added.

Reggae Sumfest 2016 is also looking to launch a groundbreaking first, by streaming in interactive 360 Virtual Reality — a game changer, according to Bogdanovich.

Other changes discussed included the re-energising of the brand, both in terms of signing local acts that are more youth-oriented and, at the same time, maintaining the foundation of relevant reggae/dancehall music.

There will be a restructuring of show nights as well that will compact the live entertainment from three nights to two nights, and with current international acts who are on the cutting edge and what youth want to see.

The business model in the next two years will reflect more of what is currently working in the international festival market, Bogdanovich said.

He stated that an international board of directors with experience in the business is now being assembled to help expand the brand into acceptance by major international sponsors and entertainment power brokers, who will help bring business and respect to reggae/dancehall music from Jamaica.

“This festival has supported tourism and the city of Montego Bay for 25 years, and is a fundamental factor that will not change,” he said

He added that the new administration will continue to give support, with an eye on true international exchange.

It has been reported that Reggae Sumfest brought US$6 million worth of tourism last year into Montego Bay — the city and new Reggae Sumfest administration is hoping to top that this year.

Source – Jamaica Observer

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