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Reggae Sumfest is celebrating 30 years this year and it is a feat that Joe Bogdanovich, executive producer, said is owed to vision.
“Having a vision is number one. Without a vision, you end up operating in areas where the blind leads the blind. I was fortunate enough to come on board in 2016 some 23 years after Sumfest was born. So there was a couple of decades of building a festival that gave us a tremendous advantage. Identity is number two. But what do you do when the identity becomes tired and in need of a refresher?” said Bogdanovich, speaking of changes made to the festival to inject new life.
“And that’s exactly what we did. We adjusted our line-up to focus more on the upcoming, conscious dancehall and reggae acts in the culture marketplace more than the foreign market. Regarding the factors that I believe contributed to our current success is really only one, conviction. Simply improving year after year and proving that the dedication of the team of people working on this festival is a core part of its history and the history must continue to rise to survive,” Bogdanovich continued.
The show has seen many triumphs, from bringing in some of the biggest international acts and attracting thousands of visitors across the world to featuring dancehall’s biggest acts. But with every major event there are a few hurdles to overcome.
“Communication is one of the most current challenges faced today. To express the vision as we sometimes see it. As concert producers, we reflect the spirit of the times. And for the more successful ones are a part of a universal spirit that connects a wider range of people. The peace movement, for example, connected youth in America, Europe, the Caribbean, Japan and other far-off lands in the ’60s and ’70s. Today to stay connected to a positive spirit that keeps us connected is a big challenge. The current and escalating climate conditions are also very challenging and something we must pay attention to but remember to turn a negative into a positive always. These are exciting times, and we all have opportunities. We must learn to communicate fruitfully with one another,” he explained.
Despite the challenges, based on the turnout and energy from the show’s return last year following the pandemic, the future appears bright. But to keep the show going for another 30 years and beyond, Bogdanovich said they cannot lose sight of the power of real music.
“Keep it real. To do that it comes down to artistry with solid, heartful songs that will always drive the market. So don’t stray from that. But when it comes to the development of technology as we travel up this road into the future, I think numbers. Technology gives us access to a wide range of people that is accessible to almost everyone on the planet. Well that’s what Zuckerberg said a few years ago. It allows everyone access to experienced people in the business who look to youth like never before because the youth find access to tremendous databanks and communication tools,” he shared.
Currently, to keep the show fresh and current, the Reggae Sumfest team has been tapping into various spaces to include people from various sides of media including vloggers, bloggers and influencers.
Reggae Sumfest 2023 is scheduled for July 16 to 22.
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