Reggae Sumfest has been Jamaica’s largest concert festival since 1993 when it arrived to replace its predecessor, Reggae Sunsplash. This year’s festival took place from July 17-24 in Montego Bay and is being hailed as one of the greatest in the festival’s 17-year history.
Although a passing tropical storm brought thunder, lighting and occasional showers, a bit of mud didn’t dampen the spirits of the Sumfest crowd, which turned out in great numbers all three nights. Fans danced away as the nations most popular reggae artists such as Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Shaggy, Vybz Kartel, and many others put aside their personal indifferences to urge Jamaican people to come together in the wake of recent violence and civil unrest that have cast a negative light on the popular vacation destination. “We need to go from a state of emergency to a state of urgency,” said Bounty Killer, who was honored onstage by Sumfest promoters for his contributions to Jamaican music.
As the festival gave light to every type of reggae music, the final nights featured some very special international guests. Chris Brown rocked the stage with his massive catalog of hits and his familiarity of the latest Jamaican dancehall steps. Shaggy also electrified Montego Bay with his international smash hits from “Mr. Boombastic” to “Angel.” But undeniably, the highlight of the fest was Usher’s performance on the very last night of the show. Usher gave fans an unforgettable almost two-hour long performance running through all of his great hits. Standouts in his show included “You Make Me Wanna,” “Yeah,” “Nice and Slow” and “OMG.” Much to the crowd’s enjoyment, he also had guest appearances from Chris Brown, Elephant Man, and Mavado.
“I feel privileged to be a part of this incredible festival that highlights not only Jamaican music but also your culture,” said Usher after the show. “I’m glad to be able to be here to share a little bit of our musical culture from America.”
Written by Michael Wash