Sun | May 31, 2020

Ken Boothe the only male on Westchester Festival

Published:Friday | August 23, 2019 | 12:28 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer
Promoter Andrea Bullens with NBC TV host Al Roker.
Promoter Andrea Bullens with NBC TV host Al Roker.

New York:

On Saturday, August 31, entrepreneur and CEO of Bullzii Marketing LLC Andrea Bullens will seek to expand her portfolio to include concert producer/promoter of the inaugural Westchester Reggae Music Festival. The event, scheduled for the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, in the United States, will be headlined by Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Princess Menen, and the International Women In Reggae. Veteran singer Ken Boothe is the lone male headliner. All acts will be backed by Derrick Barnett’s Statement Band.

The Westchester Festival comes just weeks after Oland Roots created history in Sweden as the first-ever all-female festival line-up of reggae superstars. It included Marcia Griffiths, Koffee, Ce’cile, Etana, and Ikaya.

“I’m very passionate about ensuring that our female talent is well represented in the male-dominated reggae music business and this mostly female line-up was deliberately packaged,” Bullens told The Gleaner.

“I am very happy with the response we have been getting so far. It’s a phenomenal line-up, if I must say so myself. Among the women on this event are two-thirds of the most celebrated harmony group in reggae music, singing with Bob Marley and the Wailers first and subsequently continuing on to successful solo careers,” she shared.

Bullens comes to the table with impressive credentials. Born in England to Jamaican parents, she moved to New York from Jamaica in 1984 and ventured into the world of event promotion at 19 years old, pairing fashion with music. She later played key roles in some of New York City’s (NYC) most successful Caribbean music events.

Since establishing Bullzii Marketing in 2003, she has represented several clients, among them Grace Foods, LIME/FLOW,, the NYC Commission of Human Rights, and Caribbean Airlines. In 2015, Bullzii was certified by New York City and New York State as a minority and women-owned business enterprise. The certification allows her to bid on city and state contracts, and she has been awarded contracts by both NYC and state agencies.

Speaking about the Westchester Festival, Bullens said, “I am excited that we are creating quality entertainment for reggae and world music lovers while promoting Brand Jamaica in the Tri-State Area, particularly in Westchester, Rockland, and northern communities, as these communities have large populations of Caribbean residents, yet because of the scarcity of cultural entertainment north of the city, they often travel miles for reggae and world music.”

Reggae queen Griffiths and Mowatt, original members of the I-Threes, toured the world with Bob Marley and his Wailers band. Griffiths garnered international fame with the Electric Slide line dance, which became an international dance craze. The song reached No. 51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it Griffiths’ most successful single and one of the biggest-selling songs by a female reggae artiste. Mowatt has secured her own place in history as the first female singer nominated for a Grammy Award in the reggae category for her Working Wonders album in 1985.

The International Women of Reggae are a trending Tri-State Area band known to deliver fabulous performances. Singer Princess Menen had success in 2008 with Sweetest Sound, a duet she recorded with American musician Moby. The song was chosen for the soundtrack for the film Won’t Back Down, with actors Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter. She recently completed an album with Toots Hibbert and has performed with Sizzla, Lutan Fyah, and Marlon Asher.