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Fantan Mojah Hungry For The Sumfest Stage

Reggae-dancehall singer Fantan Mojah is hungry for some Reggae Sumfest action.

Taking to Instagram Live on Sunday, he charged fans to appeal to the festival’s producers Joe Bogdanovich and Skatta Burrell, in hopes of making the roster for the July-slated event. 

“Mi want unno beat dem and mek dem know waa gwaan enuh, seh nothing nah hide again,” he said. “Unno a hide the youth too long now… Mek dem know mi want Sumfest fi work.”

The backpack-wearing artist last performed at Sumfest in 2018, marking his first solo set at the show in more than a decade. Yet, his history with Bogdanovich and the organising company, Downsound Records, is long-founding. It was at the label that Fantan Mojah rose to prominence with the 2004 hit Hungry, and went on to record the album Hail the King which included the title track, Corruption and Nuh Build Great Man featuring Jah Cure.

Under this premise, he posited that he deserves to be on the show.

“Josef Bogdanovich, mi and yuh nav nothing; a mi buss the company,” Fantan Mojah said. “Skatta Burrell, mi and you nav nothing. Memba mi kids dem want food too like everybody else… Mi fans dem ask every year, ‘How yuh nah work Sumfest?’; mi a tell dem fi ask unno. Mi nav nothing ‘gainst unno and unno nav nothing ‘gainst me. Unno have something ‘gainst me? Mek mi know.”

He’s currently promoting the Rasta Got Soul tour with Etana, the next stop for which will be in Canada in June. The Fire King artist is expected to embark on a European tour for the remaining summer. 

“Unno know mi a nuh problem child enuh, but all mi want, whenever the show dem and the promoter dem a put the show dem together, unno give me piece of the platform like how mi want Sumfest platform right now.”

Fantan Mojah isn’t the only artist to express befuddlement over not being rostered for Sumfest. In singer Nadine Sutherland’s case, she has never graced the “greatest reggae show on Earth”, though she’d already had hits like Action with Terror Fabulous when the event launched in 1993. 

“It’s been a question people have asked me because I have big tunes,’ Sutherland told The STAR in 2019. “It is a big mystery that I don’t allow myself to delve into and I just dismiss it now, but they’ve never invited me to Sumfest.”

Other absences have surrounded unsuccessful negotiations, with Rygin King expressing his desire to return to the Sumfest stage in 2019, but noting disappointment in the compensation. The same accounted for the absences of Shenseea, Teejay and Ding Dong that year, who did not perform at the festival as their requested booking fees were not met – per artist manager Romeich Major. Teejay has since left the camp.

In the past, Bogdanovich has described the task of curating the yearly line-up, positing that it is impossible to please everyone. He told The STAR that the show is committed to having a diverse line-up, and that “We keep our ears and nose to the ground and we are interactive with what’s going on and that’s how we do it.”

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Sumfest will return to its Catherine Hall base in Montego Bay, St. James, on July 21 and 22. Among the rostered acts are Tommy Lee Sparta, Valiant and Chronic Law on night one, and Minister Marion Hall, Richie Spice and Morgan Heritage on night two. 

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