Diversity Heightens the Good Sumfest Vibe


ll_coolj_girls.jpgRobert Russell, Chairman of Summerfest Productions Limited said, "There is a vibrant and good vibe in Montego Bay because of Reggae Red Stripe Sumfest." Speaking at a press conference on July 20, to what he described as the largest contingent of journalists to ever visit Sumfest, Russell expressed his delight at having witnessed the wonderful record breaking Dancehall Night crowd, stay in the hot sun until 7:00am, to jump, sing and dance. "That's when you know the show is good," he stated.

At this 15 year juncture his production company pulled out all the stops, offering up a well balanced lineup and activities for four nights - July 15, 19, 20 and 21 - all dubbed Beach Party, Explosion, Evolution and Zenith respectively. Catherine Hall, Montego Bay more than rocked, with the likes of: Shaggy, LL Cool J, Christopher Martin, Buju Banton and Morgan Heritage - just some of the diverse stellar representations on July 20, the night called Evolution.

Linking the great elements of music to those of beer, is how Red Stripe’s Wayne Lawrence described the Red Stripe and reggae connection. Some of that overarching element of greatness was exhibited by the heartfelt and inspirational delivery of Buju Banton. Proving his indelible prominence, Buju gave Evolution Night a no-nonsense, harmonic and astounding twist.

Nest led quite appropriately amongst the celebrated singers of reggae, was rapping sensation, LL Cool J, who packed a solid punch with his stirring Hip-Hop vibe in every style. Of course his steamy sexy versions amplified audience response and the shrill screams of females shouting, "Take it off," filled the air, as the well built rapping sensation tugged at and ripped his thin sexy T's while handing out long stemmed roses to some lucky ladies.

"We have to lead by example," LL said in response to a question on morality and Hip-Hop lyrics. "We must decrease that demand for the explicit – if you desire something and it's produced and handed to you – then don't complain." He said, that weeding out undesirable lyrics or ideas must begin now, but it must happen simultaneously with a highly overdue societal debugging (of that craving for the dirt), starting with the children. "That way those immoral things won't be as attractive to the masses," LL explained.

Diversity was the name of the game and always has been an integral part of the Sumfest philosophy. Also on the bill, was one of the planets hottest soca singing stars, Allison Hinds, who also made sure to heat up de place properly – even in the cool Montego Bay early morning breeze.

The absolute epitome of steamy and passionate performances was however, the one thrown down by Morgan Heritage. Seeming even more lively and vibrant than ever before, the tight and conscious family unit did not disappoint their extremely receptive fans.

This second night at Catherine Hall, was topped off with a special tribute to one of Jamaica’s leading bands, Fab 5, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sumfest Production Team earlier in the day, for their longevity and excellence in Jamaican music. Singers like, Ernie Smith, Pluto Shervington, Chaka Demus & Pliers as well as Gem Myers, paid tribute to Fab 5 until the wee hours of the morning – and they were all backed by Fab 5.

The dynamism of Evolution night seemed never ending. Had it not been for the morning sun that came to find some entire families huddled together and fast asleep, the joyous music would still be flowing