Jamaican Music

Top 10 Moments at Sumfest 2019: Best in Class Performances Championed the Spirit of Reggae & Dancehall Music

Reggae Sumfest, which takes place each year in Montego Bay, is well known for performances that electrify massive audiences from not only within Jamaica, but all over the world.  And the 2019 Sumfest event was extra special in that it featured a high-caliber line up in terms of pure quality:  Beres Hammond, Koffee, Buju Banton, Etana, Bounty Killa, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Govana, Spice, Agent Sasco, Dexta Daps, Spragga Benz, Christopher Martin, Romain Virgo, Protoje, Chronixx and so many others.   In fact, this year’s line-up had such potency and, as a consequence, large numbers of fans who descended upon Montego Bay to attend the show were hard-pressed to find a place to stay unless they had booked their accommodations at least a month prior in many cases.

With its inception in 1993, Reggae Sumfest continues to be the largest music festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean.  As is customary, the event kicked off on Sunday, July 14th with a Sumfest Beach Party. Then, there was a free Street Dance on Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the Global Sound Clash at the Pier One Event Center.  Thereafter, Festivals Night I and II took center stage and set MoBay on fire so to speak. Given this backdrop, there was a whole heap of memorable and unforgettable moments over the course of this great event.  And so, after careful reflection, below are the top 10 Reggae Sumfest 2019 moments (in no particular order) in my estimation:

Elephant Man – who is also known as the ‘Energy God’, was as electric as ever as during his Festival Night I performance

Spice – the undisputed ‘Queen of the Dancehall’ and her cast of dancers always displays Jamaican popular culture in spectacular fashion

Protoje – the ever eclectic, Protoje, leads the way along with Chronixx, Koffee, and others as ‘roots revival’ reggae artists

Jah 9 – was very graceful and emphatic in getting her powerful song messages across to the captivated Sumfest audience

Beenie & Bounty – from archrivals to legendary dancehall idols

Chronixx and Chronicle – father and son came together on stage for a magical moment

Govana – ‘I feel like a Champ right now’, as the chorus to his popular song goes.  At the morning sun broke at Catherine Hall on Festival Night I (Dancehall Night), Govana certainly fit the bill

Koffee meets Chris Gayle – conscious reggae singing sensation, Koffee, gets a big up from legendary West Indies cricketer, Chris Gayle

Beres Hammond – a living legend indeed and he put on a musical hit parade at Sumfest ’19 that did not disappoint

Buju Banton – 2nd time around, reggae mega star, Mark Myrie, ignites Jamaica at Sumfest ’19 just as he did back in March at the National Stadium to kick of his ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ tour in epic fashion

Photography by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida

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Nick Ford