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Rebel Salute continues despite tough financial climate

Published:Sunday | January 9, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Tony Rebel

... Tony Rebel wants to promote good music despite challenges

It is costing Rebel Salute promoters tens of millions of dollars to host this year's renewal at Port Kaiser in St Elizabeth on January 15, despite Pepsi Cola coming on-board as title sponsors.

Last week, Pepsi announced it was investing $12 million dollars into the conscious reggae festival, but according to Tony Rebel, the show's promoter, much of that money went into promotions not directly associated with the main event. A significant portion of the money was spent on three roadshows designed to promote the show and to promote Pepsi's promotions in Clarendon, St Elizabeth, and Manchester.

"Pepsi has invested heavily behind the non-traditional promotion of Rebel Salute via roadshows and supermarket and wholesale promotions so as to not only drive interest and attendance, but to extract maximum value for the Pepsi brand," said Carlo Redwood, head of marketing for Pepsi Cola, Jamaica.

"Pepsi, however, commends Tony Rebel for delivering a first-class event every year, despite increasing costs of putting on the event. Pepsi's direct sponsorship is a fraction of the cost that it takes to put on such a massive event, and despite not having the type of sponsorship investment usually required for such a show, Tony Rebel continues to deliver what we see as the number one Reggae show in Jamaica."

According to the veteran entertainer, some significant costs are being accrued in putting on the show, not least, the clearing of the woodlands that is now the venue for the show. Rebel said it was also costing a great deal to truck the stage, stalls, and generators from Kingston to the venue in St Elizabeth. There are also significant costs associated with paying the line-up of entertainers that includes Beres Hammond, Toots and the Maytals, Tarrus Riley, Jack Radics, Queen Ifrica, I-Octane, Khago, and Romaine Virgo, among many others, Rebel revealed.

Never about the money

But despite the high costs, Rebel said Rebel Salute was never about the money. "This is all about the culture, the healthier aspects of the music," he said. "It is why David Brooks will be performing and not Mavado. It is about music that can motivate and inspire."

The Star is also a sponsor of Rebel Salute.

It was also revealed a few days ago that Tanya Stephens is no longer in the line-up for the event. She is to be replaced by the internationally acclaimed Sister Carol.