Reggae Sumfest Marketing Strategist Skatta Burrell has sought to refute claims by One Blood singer Junior Reid that veteran artists are being shunned year in and year out by the festival organizers Downsound Entertainment.
During the One Blood Family Fest launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on May 16, Junior Reid stated that he had never being booked to perform at Reggae Sumfest in its 30-year history and that, by excluding veterans each year, the organizers Downsound Entertainment were depriving music-lovers of quality, conscious music.
According to him, it was on this premise that he decided to launch his own festival.
But on Monday, Skatta, in responding to Junior Reid’s comments, shared a DancehallMag article about the artist’s concerns, along with flyers showcasing a long list of veterans who are set to grace the Sumfest stage this year, and pointed out that it was a totally different ballgame, as artists will perform for their compatriots for free, but not in the case of events like his.
“It’s easy to point the Finger. Reggae Icon Junior Reid has an upcoming birthday bash and the lineup is filled with reggae acts slated to perform. Respect to Him for bringing these top acts to the stage. Unfortunately an artist playing the role of a promoter will always get huge support from his co workers than regular persons producing a show,” the Coolie Dance producer stated.
“We (Downsound) can only afford so Many acts while Artist are always willing to show up and perform for another artist for free out of mutual respect. Reggae Festivals in Jamaica are struggling to survive So let’s work together to build back our culture currently on life support,” he added.
He was supported by some of his followers who said that staging an event like Reggae Sumfest takes more than meets the eye.
“Everyone can’t be on that stage for many reasons, who do people want to see right now? What’s the budget like? What are the social risks of giving a platform to some artists on an international stage like Sumfest? It’s not just a Stage Show, It’s THE BIGGEST REGGAE SHOW ON EARTH!” one man said, while another added: “Him prolly Neva see the lineup is a good look that u show him…”
Junior Reid’s event, which is dubbed The One Blood Family Fest, named after Reid’s 1988 megahit song, One Blood, will be held on Saturday, June 3 at Plantation Cove in Priory, St. Ann.
Acts billed for the event include Sister Carol, Sizzla Kalonji, Big Youth, Stephen and Julian Marley, Bushman, IWayne, among others.
Junior Reid is not the only Reggae artist in recent times, who has complained about not being booked for Sumfest.
Last month, Mama Hungry singer Fantan Mojah’s pleaded fervently to be added to this year’s staging of the event.
Fantan had taken to Instagram Live, where he implored fans to appeal to Downsound CEO Joe Bogdanovich and Skatta, to add him to the lineup.
The Fire King had claimed that he was being left out every year even though he played a significant role in their label Downsound Records’ ascension to musical prominence.
However, his supplications proved futile as even after catching the attention of Skatta, it received a no-no.
Skatta, while acknowledging that Fantan was indeed a good artist, who had given “a thrilling performance at Reggae Sumfest 2018”, had said that “since then due to the COVID pandemic, there had been only two official stagings of the festival and “due to contractual obligations from 2020 that had to be postponed” Downsound Entertainment is continuing to book artists who had “prior negotiations with us.”