Dancehall veteran Harry Toddler is no stranger to the Reggae Sumfest stage.
As he prepares to perform once again at the 2022 show, he caught up with THE WEEKEND STAR to talk about his experiences over the years.
“Harry Toddler and Sumfest is real history,” he reminisced. “I remember my very first performance on the Sumfest stage. I opened for Bounty Killer that year. I think that maybe even the very first staging of Reggae Sumfest. That it why it will always have a place in my heart. I have to big up Sumfest every time and anywhere mi deh. Mi also have to big up MoBay and all a the foundation people them.”
Reggae Sumfest was first staged in 1993. Harry Toddler, whose given name is Patrick Ricardo Jackson, began his dancehall career as a teen. He later became a member of the popular Scare Dem Crew while also pursuing a solo career. He has had several successful tracks in dancehall and even made an appearance in the 1999 Jamaican action crime film Third World Cop.
He says one of his most memorable Reggae Sumfest performances was the year he performed after Capleton.
“The energy on stage is magnificent! No stage show can really match it and I’m coming from the early times really, that is even before Joe (Bogdanovich). So I really mean it’s just pure history,” Harry Toddler said. Bogdanovich acquired the Reggae Sumfest brand in 2016.
According to Harry Toddler, his rehearsals have been going great.
“I can’t complain there. I am ready to just go out there and work the stage cause we do this for the people. We want them to be excited and entertained. Sumfest is a show that does a lot for people and a lot for Jamaica. Nuff tourists a come in and nuff people just want to come see their favourite artiste,” he shared.
The veteran is billed to perform on festival night one, July 22 in Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. He will share the night with a number of dancehall newcomers and says he is fully prepared to bring his own style and vibe to the patrons.
“We get to be on a big stage now and the people need that. The people craving the entertainment. So we ago give it to them. A lot of young yute go be performing but I still going to bring that original dancehall flavour. A lot in dancehall has changed but I want to deal wid the roots of the thing. I’ll just be living in the moment,” he explained.