Monday, 15 June 2015

ON THE RADAR: Essence Festival welcomes Beenie Man + Rapper Rick Ross for Sumfest debut + Tune in to Gospel Vibes reality show

LIVE IN CONCERT: This year the Essence Music Festival (July 2-5) – New Orleans’ annual megaparty with a purpose – is getting a dose of reggae and dancehall flavour, courtesy of Beenie Man and the Zagga Zow Band, who’ve been invited to share the mainstage on Saturday, July 4 with Usher, Missy Elliott, Erykah Badu – and Common, who jets in to Montego Bay for Reggae Sumfest a week later. Also playing the festival’s concert series inside the Louisiana Superdome over the course of the Fourth of July weekend are Kendrick Lamar, Floetry, Mary J. Blige, Maze and Frankie Beverly, Trey Songz and India.Arie. Presented by Coca-Cola, the 2015 Essence Music Festival is being staged under the concept of #BringTheLove to deliver four days of family-friendly activities in keeping with a rich tradition of community, culture, and world-renowned performances. For updates, ticket information and more, visit

RAPPER’S DELIGHT: Rap and hip-hop have become staples on the Reggae Sumfest roster, as organizers Summerfest Productions strive to deliver the hottest international acts of the moment to cater to the eclectic tastes of patrons who make the pilgrimage each year to Catherine Hall, MoBay, from all four corners of the globe. Picking up where Wiz Khalifa left off last year, Rick Ross (aka The Teflon Don), the heavyweight Miami MC who runs the Maybach Music empire, will blaze the mainstage on Friday, July 17 (International Night 1) with a performance that should leave little doubt as to why he’s still “the biggest boss”. “We’re hoping that [Rick’s] high-energy performance will add something very special to Reggae Sumfest this year,” says Johnny Gourzong. Boasting one of its most appealing lineups in recent times, Reggae Sumfest 2015 is poised to draw record crowds to Catherine Hall to catch performances by a host of Jamaic’s hottest entertainers du jour and foreign acts like Common, Yazz and Jennifer Hudson.

ACCESS GRANTED: Ever wondered what it takes to put on a top-quality production like the Grand Finals of the annual National Gospel Song Competition? Then tune in to Gospel Vibes, a new six-part reality series airing on PBC Jamaica on Sundays at 4:30pm (with a repeat broadcast Wednesdays at 1:00pm), starting June 21. According to producers, Gospel Vibes is the exclusive guide to the JCDC-run singing competition that will grant viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the live recording of the 2015 album, The Secret Place, video-diary-style interviews with all ten finalists, and bloopers galore – all in the run-up to the big show taking place August 2 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre. This year the class of finalists is comprised of LaShawn Wilson (“Something More in Store”), Petrena Whyte (“Praise Him in the Morning”), Diamara Neil-Walker (“God Is”), Minister Treasure (“Praise Him”), Fred Robertson (“Freedome Call”), Unique Harmony (“Jubilee”), Yanique DuCasse (“Give Me Strength”), Rebecca Bissoon (“With You Lord”), Brother Jeff (“Heavenly Race”) and The Shepherd Brothers (“Jesus Remember Me”).

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