Meet Me On Beat Street Festival for Orange Street
The Sound and Pressure Foundation, an organisation that has been working since 2006 to revive downtown Kingston as a music heritage site, has undertaken a street festival, Meet Me On Beat Street, to recognise the significant role of Orange ‘Beat’ Street in Jamaican music.
The street festival, scheduled for February 24, will begin at midday on the Orange Street corridor between Charles and North streets. It will highlight the significant roles played by three musical icons who have impacted the world, namely Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, Cecil ‘Prince Buster’ Campbell, and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. All three operated music-recording businesses along Orange Street, and the appropriate signage and plaques will be erected in their honour.
Commenting on the upcoming festival, chairman of the Sound and Pressure Foundation and a formerGleaner columnist, Julian ‘Jingles’ Reynolds, said: “The music has been an engine for the socio-economic growth and development of Kingston, and Orange Street, which we refer to as ‘Beat Street’, was the centre of business activities, driving the emerging Jamaican music culture from the 1950s to the 1980s.”
A space to show and sell
Reynolds revealed that there will be a one-hour tour, the Downtown Kingston Music Heritage Tour, which will take visitors to places of interest which had ties to Kingston’s musical heritage. Another activity, February Art Walk at Orange Street, will feature artists from the community painting a mural, while sound systems Soultone and Shanghai will play the music produced by the three icons. Art, craft and food vendors, along with record producers, will all have a space to show and sell their products.
“We are striving with the participation of the Government, local and central, for the west Kingston community that is so rich in cultural heritage to gain economic benefits from cultural tourism,” Reynolds explained.
The event, timed to coincide with Reggae Month activities, has the support of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Ministry of Tourism, and Kingston Creative.