Sizzling performances from the world’s top reggae, dancehall and R&B acts came together to create a memorable Reggae Sumfest for 2012. Summerfest Promotions took Reggae Sumfest to even higher heights from July 15-21, 2012 as they celebrated 20 years of the ‘greatest reggae show on earth’. The star studded line up assured a successful event with performances from the likes of Damian Jr. Gong Marley, R&B superstar R. Kelly, Trey Songz and dancehall legend Shabba Ranks.
The Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay greeted thousands of visitors from around Jamaica and the world during the 3-nights of concerts. Dancehall Night on Thursday July 19 saw performances from dancehall’s most well loved acts. Patrons came out early to hear from young performers Romain Virgo, Tifa, Spice, Khago, I-Octane and others who delivered with hit after hit of their well known singles. Veteran artiste Lady Saw followed, producing a scintillating performance that further established her as an icon in the industry. With hits such as Walk Out, Two Man and No Long Talking, Lady Saw had the audience at her whim. Her performance was fitting as later that night she was crowned as the Queen of the Dancehall. Crowd favourites Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and Elephant Man all gave high energy performances while paying homage to Jamaica’s 50th anniversary. Dancehall Night ended on a high with thousands of patrons staying until the wee hours of the morning.
International Night 1 continued on the same note with a musical line-up of greats. American R&B singer Trey Songz started strong for his Reggae Sumfest debut. The sultry lyrics of his hits I Need a Girl, Can’t Help but Wait and a rendition of Bob Marley’s Turn Your Lights Down Low went over well with the female patrons. Leading up to Trey Songz were outstanding performances from well-loved artistes Tessanne Chin and Tarrus Riley. Their belting vocals and uplifting lyrics garnered screams, horns, and requests for encores from the expressive audience.
The highly anticipated act of the night, Shabba Ranks took the stage, ready to make up for 10 years of absence from the local music scene. Shabba did not disappoint;with hits like Winey Winey and Trailer Load much to the delight of the audience. His rude boy lyrics with dance moves to match elevated the energy inside Catherine Hall during the early hours of Saturday morning. Shabba Ranks was also honoured following his performance for his contribution to Jamaican music. His performance of hits Champion Lover and Twice My Age with Cherine Anderson heralded the loudest crowd responses of the night and it was clear that one of dancehall’s pioneers had indeed returned. As a special Jamaica 50 tribute to the pioneers of Jamaican music, International Night 1 concluded with a Tribute to the Greats segment. Performers like John Holt, Yellow Man, Leroy Sibbles, Mighty Diamond, Frankie Paul and others ended the second night of performances with a trip down memory lane.
Reggae Sumfest 2012 ended with a bang on International Night 2. Early performances from the likes of Protoje and The Indiggnation and Christopher Martin set the stage for an enjoyable final night. Recording artiste R. Kelly, gave his fans what they had been waiting for. From his entry with songs So Sexy and Shake to his closing hit I Believe I Can Fly, both female and male fans vocalised their appreciation. It was then on to Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley whose multimedia entrance complimented by his standard flag bearer produced roaring applause from the audience. The Set up Shop artiste sang old and new hits, taking fans back to his 2nd album with Still Searching along with his most recent hit Affairs of the Heart.
The curtains closed on International Night 2 with a moving performance by Jamaican music legend Bunny Wailer. Despite singing before a smaller crowd, Bunny Wailer delivered well known songs from the 1960’s like Simmer Down from his days with the Wailers. Reggae Sumfest 2012 was an event like no other, filling Montego Bay with the sweet sounds of Jamaican music. For 20 years the event has attracted thousands of reggae music fans to Jamaica for an experience found nowhere else. Be sure to travel to Jamaica next year for another staging of Reggae Sumfest, the greatest reggae show on earth.