Thu | Feb 27, 2020

Sound system showdown for Reggae Month

Published:Tuesday | January 21, 2020 | 6:21 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Lenford Salmon, chairman of Reggae Month Secretariat.
Lenford Salmon, chairman of Reggae Month Secretariat.

Next month’s annual staging of Reggae Month in Jamaica will see the introduction of Sound System Echoes – The Showdown at Sundown, a clash featuring 12 sound systems.

The new feature, introduced to appease disgruntled reggae lovers who feel Reggae Month was too uptown-focused, will take place on Saturday, February 15, at the National Indoor Sports Centre at the National Stadium.

The announcement was made at Saturday’s Ocho Rios launch of Reggae Month, at Moon Palace Jamaica in Ocho Rios, and is the main new item introduced for the month-long celebration of Jamaica’s world-renowned reggae music.

Lenford Salmon, chairman of the Reggae Month Secretariat, later told The Gleaner that other features that have been a staple on the calendar will be upsized to make them more exciting and appealing to the younger demographic, whichw has complained of being excluded from the celebrations.

“One of the most significant new events for us this year, again to satisfy some complaints that Reggae Month is ‘an uptown thing that don’t involve us’, is what we call Sound System Echoes – The Showdown at Sundown,” Salmon said.

“For the first time anywhere in the same room, anywhere in the world as far as we know, 12 sound systems from Jamaica will square off in friendly rivalry. We’ll also take the opportunity as well to recognise some of the stalwarts of the sound system music. The sound system is the cradle of the music. That’s where it began, and so we have to pay homage to it.”

“So we’re creating that particular event this year to reach out to that demographic that feel that Reggae Month ‘nuh belong to we’. It belongs to all of us, and this one is particularly for that demographic of people.”

The celebrations, which actually end on March 1 with the Prime Minister’s Reggae Month Reception, will also include seven concerts across the island featuring children of reggae icons.

Meanwhile, managing director of Moon Palace Jamaica Clifton Reader has called for more collaboration between big-name reggae acts and the hotel industry as it would benefit both the music and the tourism industry.

He also challenged the Ministry of Entertainment to highlight the Jack Ruby recording studio at James Avenue, Ocho Rios, as part of building the link between reggae and tourism.