Tony and his 'rebels' to the rescue
And it came to pass that as Jamaicans, many of them from the diaspora, became hungry for a top-class production capable of replacing the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Tony and his 'rebels' came to their rescue.
Serving more than 20,000 patrons on a musical platter, Rebel Salute became the saving grace for music lovers who invaded the Grizzly's Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann, last Friday and Saturday night, paying tribute to authentic reggae, great vibe and strictly 'high grade'.
The patrons were not to be disappointed as Leroy Sibblies drew for his guitar and went for the bassline, stirring the crowd into a frenzy. Leroy Gibbons sang his heart out, and Bushman performed an impressive catalogue of songs.
Some of the most memorable acts were singing sensation Sanchez, who gave a repeat of his stellar performance at Reggae Sumfest last year, and Queen Ifrica, who proved in no uncertain terms that she is royalty.
Minister Marion Hall took responsibility for Friday night's show and Ifrica warned the mothers on Saturday against selling their children as sex slaves to satisfy their needs.
As good as the stage appearances at Rebel Salute were, the vendors, food and ganja suppliers were just as critical to the authenticity of the event. Artist Paul Peart's grout paintings, mixed with paints of all different colours, were a hit with patrons. So, too, were Lennox Coke's controversial and now limited-edition Yellow Pages telephone directory covers, which went like hot bread.
Capitalising on the controversy, Coke told Today that he plans to produce a T-shirt line called 'Luv Mi Culture' in celebration of the rich Jamaican culture.
Still, the most popular booth was Rastafari Root House with their award-winning Mango Berry ganja.
Their brands - Most Wanted, Pinch, Auto Pilot and Cruise Control - became not merely conversation pieces, but the most sought-after items at the event.
Rebel Salute is now the number-one stage show in the country, and this event can only grow from strength to strength. In fact, Tony Rebel may need to ask the Creator to allow him more hours in the day in order to place more artistes on the line-up.