It’s a new day for Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica’s largest music festival. Now under the auspices of Downsound Entertainment, Sumfest, now in its 24th year, has done away with “International Nights,” which in the past have featured such artists as Nicki Minaj, R. Kelly and Future, and booked an 100% Jamaican lineup, showcasing strictly local reggae and dancehall artists. And if you can’t make it to MoBay, no problem: This year, you can watch Sumfest from the comfort of your own home, via a 360-degree virtual reality live stream — at no cost.
Sumfest’s new organizers might have abbreviated the calendar this year, but the popular pre-parties that happen in MoBay during the week before Sumfest will continue, as usual. Things kick off Sunday July 17th with a beach fete at Aquasol Theme Park with DJ Bambino, Chromatic Sound, ZJ Sparks, DJ Crazy Neil and Ikel Marvelus. On Tuesday, July 19th, it’s an “All White Edition” of the popular party, Blitz, with DJ Kurt Riley, DJ Kentucky and DJ Smoke, followed two days later by a Sound Explosion with Fire Links, Tony Matterhorn, Stone Love, Metro Media, Black Kat — Jamaica’s top sound systems, pretty much. Should be massive.
Friday night, July 22nd, as usual will be Dancehall Night, and this year’s lineup is headlined by two of the biggest rivals in Jamaican music history, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, who seem to have recently let bygones be bygones. Could a joint performance be in the cards? There’s also Popcaan, I-Octane, Agent Sasco, Dexta Daps, Romain Virgo, Nesbeth, Spice, Ding Dong and Harry Toddler, plus all of the biggest names in the genre’s new guard: Dexta Daps, Chi Ching Ching, Jahmiel, Don Andre, Tanto Blacks, Charly Black, Ryme Minista, Masicka, Vershon, Devin Di Dakta. Reggae Night happens the following night with the Don Dada Super Cat, Barrington Levy, Luciano, Sanchez, Tarrus Riley, Busy Signal, Christopher Martin, Nature, D-Medz, Nicky Silk and Dann I.
As for that virtual-reality live stream, it will broadcast both nights, Friday and Saturday July 22 and 23, from start to finish, making use of the latest virtual reality technology to take you inside Jamaica’s No. 1 live music event. Viewers will be able to choose the camera location from among four different locations, sweep the field of view a full 360° around from that point of view, and even go backstage. It’s a whole new way of experiencing one of the greatest shows in the Caribbean.