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Reggae Music Festival celebrates 50 years of Jamaican talent

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The 50th Anniversary of Reggae Music Festival, celebrating 50 years of Jamaican music since the release of one of the more notable of the first identifiable ska tunes Oh! Carolina by the Folks Brothers (1960), will kick things off with a launch party at Island Village in Ocho Rios in February (2010), Reggae month.

The three-day festival will be held at James Bond Beach in Oracabessa, St Mary, from Thursday, March 11 to Saturday, March 13.

The music festival will be the first of its kind in Jamaica, with every communication medium being used to broadcast it. The festival will be made available for mobile download, and viewing, via the Internet and television, worldwide.

Expose and entertain

"The mission of the 50th Anniversary of Reggae Music Festival is to expose and entertain a diverse audience of reggae aficionados, young reggae enthusiasts and musical artistes to the rich heritage and variety of reggae as an authentic form of traditional music. We intend to present reggae music as a positive and viable force in the music industry that it truly is," said Frank Thornton, CEO of Gloss Entertainment Media Services, organisers of the event. The show's line-up and television-broadcast details will be announced later this month.

The 50th Anniversary of Reggae Music Festival will issue souvenir MasterCard prepaid debit cards in place of traditional ticketing, a Caribbean first. "The card will enable its holder to make online purchases, receive money from abroad, special discounts on health services such as eyewear and pharmaceuticals. We needed some sort of creative financing to aid the projects we have taken on and the MasterCard is a tremendous opportunity," Thornton said.

Debit card available worldwide

The debit card will be available worldwide. A percentage of the debt card residual and festival proceeds will go towards the construction of a trauma unit and various other projects at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay. There is also a non-profit organisation in the works called 'Back to My Roots', which will aim to supply musical instruments for Jamaican schools' music programmes.

The 50th Anniversary of Reggae Festival is endorsed by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. In summer 2010, it will hit the road with concerts in select cities worldwide.