Reggae Sumfest To Require Patrons To Be Fully Vaccinated, Says Skatta Burrell

Downsound Entertainment executive and Dancehall music producer Cordell Skatta Burrell says that the music festival is coming back for 2022 after being on a hiatus for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but all patrons will have to be vaccinated before they are allowed to attend.

Speaking on TVJ’s Entertainment Report, the music producer says that events allowing only vaccinated persons are becoming inevitable given the impact of the virus and its longevity.

“The way it is going right now for Reggae Sumfest, 2022, whether people like it or not it’s gonna have to be a fully vaccinated show,” Skatta Burrell told show host Anthony Miller. “Like it or not because we have rules to adhere to. And if the government set the rules – we are a big festival – is not a little patty shop; is not a dance; is not a party; is a big festival that people coming from all over the world and we want to invite them to come and party freely.”

At the last Reggae Sumfest, the event on its 27th staging was said to have been the largest since its inception.

The event, which is normally held in July, has been pushed back to December 2021 as Chief Executive Officer of Downsound Entertainment Josef Bogdanovich said he hopes that with vaccination underway, the event could be held. For the 2020 staging, the event was held virtually but speaking earlier in the year to the Jamaica Observer, Bogdanovich said he wanted the show to be back in its original format at the next staging.

Skatta Burrell and Joe Bogdanovich / DSR

“We have to encourage the opening up of the entertainment sector, and vaccinations is the way to go… We really want to present a physical show, the real deal… real live music. But we can only go forward with vaccination, reduced COVID numbers and the protocols from government regarding entertainment events.”

Meanwhile, the event in December has not been fully revealed, although it appears that it won’t be a physical event after all.

In later interviews, the CEO had said an event would be held in December, but it won’t be the same as Sumfest, even though it will have a strong lineup of artistes.

Meantime, Skatta also spoke about his arduous recovery from being infected with the Covid-19 virus.

According to him, he wished he had taken the cautions about protecting himself from the virus seriously because, at one point, he felt he was going to die and had to decide whether he wanted to go to a hospital and be on a ventilator or stay at home with family.

“After my COVID-19 experience I can only advise my fellow country man and woman to be careful and do what you must to protect yourselves. Your health choices are personal and yours to make,” the music producer urged.

He also urged persons, including those of influence to comply with the measures of the government and to stop encouraging people of the poorer class to protest against the government.

“It’s hard out here for a lot of folks especially those who are not financially stable enough to stock up on food and supplies for days and it’s time those who are encouraging them to be rebellious and create mayhem over the rules to step up and create a fund to assist those who are facing hardships,” Skatta said.

Skatta Burrell urged Jamaicans to take the virus seriously, “if you not going to show up at the police station with bail money and lawyers to free the People DO NOT ENCOURAGE THEM TO DEFY THE SYSTEM. It’s unfair to encourage poor People to fight your battles and you are not out there on the frontlines putting up resources to aid them when the system claps back. #covid_19 is real #protectyourselves.”

Meanwhile, Downsound Entertainment has been supporting the thrust of the government, which has successfully vaccinated 500,000 people over the past week.

Bogdanovich this week announced that he was funding a giveaway of $20,000 for 50 nurses in support of the efforts by the healthcare workers.

In the meantime, Jamaica’s Covid-19 infection numbers continue to trend upwards, with the island recording more than 600 cases on Friday with 12 deaths over the past 24 hours.

However, the Ministry of Health says that the island is on track to achieve 700,000 vaccinated persons by September, even as Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Saturday urged Jamaicans to remain at home on no movement days for the next two weeks as the country is in a current semi-lockdown to flatten the curve.