Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
With just over a week to go before the Rebel Salute festival celebrates its 20th anniversary in its new home, the Richmond Estate in St Ann, Beres Hammond has been added to the Friday night line-up.
Rebel Salute 2013 is on Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19, under the tag line 'The Preservation of Reggae'.
The much-loved singer joins the already advertised line-up of Tony Rebel (around whose birthday the festival is organised), Tarrus Riley, Aswad, Luciano, Marcia Griffiths, Shinehead (who has not performed in Jamaica in many years), Etana, General Trees, Professor Nuts, Leroy Gibbons, Louie Culture, Little John, Lone Ranger, Hopeton James, Errol Dunkley, Carlton Livingston, Courtney Melody, Kabaka Pyramid, Chronixx, Protoje, No-Maddz, Rootz Underground, Dre Island, Hempress Sativa and Iziniga Ion.
Hammond, who has been promoting his double CD One Love, One Life in the United States, has not performed much in Jamaica over the past few months, last April's Western Consciousness in Westmoreland among the showings within a year.
And getting him for next Friday was not easy, even for former Penthouse labelmate Tony Rebel.
"It was hard. Beres had to create the space for me. It was out of love and respect and camaraderie, as he was supposed to go to the United States to promote his latest album, which I think is great. He worked around it in order to preserve reggae music," Rebel told The Gleaner.
It did not hurt that "Beres has performed on the show many times. The Penthouse connection has been good, because my first number-one song (Fresh Vegetable) was on the same label that he had a number-one song on (Tempted to Touch). Not many people know this, but I did two shows with Buju and Coco Tea in Connecticut and West Palm Beach in the US where he was the promoter. He encouraged me to keep a show even before the first Rebel Salute".
Without Hammond, the Friday line-up of newer blood, long-established performers and rarities (for the Jamaican stage) Aswad and Shinehead was already attractive. However, Rebel said "I wanted him for Friday night, because we have never done one before and he would be the perfect strength for Friday. Friday night sets the precedence".
"We definitely want to ensure a memorable start to the show at its new home."
Hammond's addition does not change other factors, as Rebel had been counting on the Beres factor.
"The entry price will be the same. We were very optimistic about Beres performing and so we factored it into the running order. The Saluters will be treated to their favourite performer as they have been asking for Beres on social media and we have delivered," he said.
And he would not nail down a time Hammond would hit the stage at Richmond Estate, simply saying "prime time".