Back-to-back Reggae, Dancehall fetes to preview J55

Back-to-back Reggae, Dancehall fetes to preview J55
Beenie Man performs onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Frank Micelotta / Invision / Associated Press

Jamaica could easily claim the title of being reggae central this summer when the island marks 55 years of self rule.

Flagship location for slating enumerable island-wide concerts from now until the official Aug. 6 independence date, a cultural national ministry has endorsed two back-to-back international attractions that recently launched in New York City.

Organizers of Reggae Sumfest and Dream Weekend stopped into Finn Partners to launch the two signature summer outings that lead into national revelry.

With two separate and distinct events aimed at attracting media attention, the Jamaica Tourist Board presented the unique and diverse calendar presentations to usher in 55 years of independence.

“This launch is a strategic move for the organizers considering that their biggest support is from the tri-state area,” Trudy C. Deans, Jamaica’s consul general said.

“And with 750,000 Caribbean nationals in the region any entertainment package that supports that should be encouraged.”

Montego Bay’s annual marathon reggae party promises an all-Jamaican showcase of vintage, current and dancehall artists billed to satiate the appetites of local and visiting tourists from every region.

With a reputation based on a quarter century years of presenting popular music — since Reggae Sunsplash moved its trailblazing marathon concerts — during nightly concerts, the second city dusk to dawn showcases are the main attraction.

In contrast, Dream Weekend acclaimed to being “the largest party festival in the Caribbean” boasts a very different approach to its alluring appeal.

“We are doing our part to make Jamaica the entertainment capital of the Caribbean by designing mega-events that attract visitors from all over this world,” Ron Burke, marketing director of Dream Entertainment said.

“Our record of customer service and security speak for itself.”

With a record of only eight years previous staging of events in the resort area of Negril, 11 people that comprise the Dream Team testifies to a weekend nationals and foreigners flock to along a seven-mile beach for unrivaled fun and adventure only available in Jamaica.

A trio of ambassadors — Burke, Scott Dunn, managing director and Kamal Bankay, public relations director detailed plans for the weekend saying two events each day totaling nine, all offered at one price offers “value for money.”

“Much of the support is from tri-state area,” Bankay said.

He explained that the largest amount of arrivals to the island for their events originate in NYC.

He said many of the fun-seekers make up a database of 16,000 and subscribers to a social media network which has built a global foreign market in Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Throughout the years, launches have been held in Barbados, Atlanta, Georgia and St. Lucia.

The five-day festival promises to deliver authentic dancehall – the likes of Popcaan, Alkaline Aidonia, Mavado, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Jah Cure, Koshens, Spice, Sizzla, Sean Paul, Masicka, Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano, Kes, Tony Matterhorn. It accounts for attracting 30,000 patrons.

Some of the activities slated from July 28 – Aug. 1 include: Dream Live, Daydreams, Yush, Xtreme Wet and Wild “Mardi Gras,” World Vibes Soundclash, Twisted Spiritz, Pajama party Igloo, Celebrity Red and White and Dream Jungle Jouvert.

With launches scheduled in Miami and Toronto, all early bird tickets are already sold out with regular tickets selling quickly.

Reputedly, the weekend adds more than $10 million to the local economy annually while creating thousands of year-round employment opportunities for the island.

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