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Int'l Reggae Day celebrations set for today

Published:Friday | July 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Duane Stephenson

Today marks International Reggae Day (IRD), and the stage is set as music will steal the global spotlight, and several countries worldwide join in the celebrations.

This year, more than 35 cities across the globe have hopped on board and are expected to carry out different activities celebrating the genre of music birthed in Jamaica.

Andrea Davis, one of the chief organisers of IRD 2016, told The Gleaner that she is happy that so many countries have been warming up to the idea of celebrating reggae music. Last year, the total number of participating cities was 25, a big increase from the three participating cities it had in 2014. Davis went on to explain that events such as IRD are designed specifically to bring attention to the genre and sees the growth that it has experienced over the years as an opportunity for Jamaica to build on.

"Global appeal means global opportunities," she said. "The local industry needs to build bridges into the international markets through collaborations and strategic marketing initiatives like IRD," she said.




There are a number of events planned for this year's celebration of IRD. Among them is the highly anticipated IRD conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel's Portland Ballroom. This year's conference will focus on the benefits of Kingston being designated a Creative City by UNESCO. The conference will be divided into two parts. The morning session will focus on the digital content economy, which will zoom in on how to earn an income from music in the digital age. The evening session will create a discussion on what the Creative City title will mean for Kingston.

David Stopps from the World Intellectual Property Organisation will be the guest speaker. For those who won't be able to make an appearance at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel for today's discussion, live streaming will be available free of cost.

Although today is the official IRD, celebrations will run until tomorrow. The Trench Town Experience and Clarendon Live are both set to take place tonight. The latter is expected to pull a large crowd as the event features the likes of Duane Stephenson and Etana at the Fyah Side Jerk Bar. There are also a number of events, including yoga sessions, concerts, and panel discussions scheduled to take place across the 35 cities. These cities include Honolulu, Hawaii, Beijing, China, Geneva, Switzerland, Auckland, and New Zealand.