Reggae Sumfest Wrap Up – Is It Really ‘The Greatest Reggae Show on Earth’?

Reggae Sumfest dubs itself as ‘the greatest reggae show on earth’. That’s a big claim.

Reggae Sumfest 2013 Poster - Beaver on the Beats

They could be right.

Some Jamaicans, and even some foreigners with a love for Jamaican music, say they think there are better reggae festivals in Jamaica than Reggae Sumfest. Roots reggae festival Rebel Salute in St Ann every January is given as an example. Reggae Sumfest 2013 was my first and only Jamaican festival so far, so I can’t say.

There are also other reggae festivals in the world besides Jamaica. I’ve been to some, but not all of them. Until I’ve done so I can’t say whether or not Reggae Sumfest is the greatest on Earth.

What I can say without doubt is that Reggae Sumfest 2013 was the greatest reggae show I have been to on Earth, so far.

The Music

Most importantly…

The quality of music, of musicianship, of artistry and of dance by almost every performer at Reggae Sumfest, one after the other over 3 long concert nights, was absolutely phenomenal.

All 3 concert nights were an amazing taste, and showcase of Jamaican music and dance.  Any music by Jamaican artists that I wasn’t into so much, was performed in such a professional and entertaining way as to make me appreciate and love it anyway.

The only shows I was bored by were those of international artists Flo Rida and Miguel.

Festival Runnings

Other fundamental factors that help make a music festival a good experience were all there at Reggae Sumfest:

  • The Reggae Sumfest site (Catherine Hall) is an open field space with fresh air and a starry sky for listening and dancing to music under.  No tents to claw your way into and find a space to see, hear or move, feeling suffocated in the process. You can move around the site easily, find a spot and enjoy it comfortably. For me that open outdoor space with the natural elements around makes all the difference in creating a really pleasurable festival experience.
  • Main stage sound was very high quality.
  • Stage lighting and visuals were beautiful.
  • Main stage could easily be seen from everywhere on the festival site. Plus there were lots of screens to otherwise see.
  • Artist changeovers were fast and efficient.
  • Tickets were cheap for a festival of that quality and length ($135 for all 3 concert nights or-$210 for VIP).
  • Drinks at the bar were reasonably priced by Jamaican standards where tourists are involved – and really cheap compared to most other music festivals around the world.
Beres Hammond-International Night 1

Beres Hammond-International Night 1

I guess after the experiences of 21 annual Reggae Sumfests, organisers have the most important things figured out. What I assume to be a big festival budget from sponsorship support, is no doubt helpful to organisers in improving quality.

A Fun Festival Community

Something almost as important as the quality of music, but something for which Reggae Sumfest is not responsible, is the people that participate in the festival.

A community of people sharing a common experience is formed at every festival, for however long that festival runs.

The communities of people that were formed at Reggae Sumfest (tourists and Jamaicans), were soooooo much fun. The feeling at the festival was either friendly, earthy and fun (International Nights 1 and 2) – or slightly more intense but hot, sexy and fun (Dancehall Night).

I have to say it again – Jamaicans know how to have a really fun, awesome party.  No matter what else you can say about the party music or people or venue, every party I’ve been to in Jamaica these past weeks except for one, has been a fun one. People having a good time with music and dance at the core.

Reggae Sumfest was a very fun Jamaican party over 3 nights (+ the Beach Party & a White Party earlier in the week).  It was the most fun music festival environment of any type of music festival I’ve experienced before.

Reggae Sumfest - 2013 -

The Greatest Reggae Show On Earth

I loved every hour of the festival marathon that Reggae Sumfest 2013 was.

For quality of music and dance, and the fun factor, Reggae Sumfest 2013 is definitely the greatest reggae show that I have experienced on Earth, so far anyway. 

I will keep checking other festivals out, but I will also be back again to Montego Bay for more Reggae Sumfests.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve experienced or heard about any other reggae festivals in the world that might have a good claim to being ‘the greatest’ on Earth.

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