IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Marley performing at last year's event. Below, Lisa Hanna and son Alexander greet headliner Beenie Man.
Even after two decades Reggae Sumfest remains a marvelous example of a mega-sized Jamaican festival with a buoyant spirit and an irrepressible energy that draws music lovers in throngs. It helps, too, that quality is a consummate hallmark of promoters Summerfest Productions, hence the regular inclusion of lavish sets, pyrotechnics and, on occasion, rock-star affiliations that lend the festival ample international appeal. And which Jamaican festival doesn't want that in their favour -- the power to speak universally?
Coinciding with this summer's eagerly awaited staging -- the festival is marking its 21st birthday -- the winds of change are indeed passing through. As previously reported, I-Octane, who has certainly paid his dues and earned his newfound superstar status, has been tapped to close Dancehall Night, ever a jam-packed spectacle at Catherine Hall.
By his own admission, he's more than up to the task. "Marcus Garvey said you have to motivate yourself, and when I look around I see the pros and cons, and I know what is against me," the deejay tells CVM's On Stage. "Everybody knows that Octane is a good performer; nobody disputes that, but we still have more things to learn."
For many concertgoers who will be attending the extravaganza, the billing for the second International Night (July 27) is particularly thrilling, given the fantastic four of Damian Marley, Chronixx, Romain Virgo and Grammy-winning R&B star Miguel, who joins hip-hop hitmaker Flo-Rida as this year's foreign acts. It's a combination worth (almost) any price of admission -- and a terrific way to bring the curtains down on the 21st b-day festivities.