Reggae Wednesdays returns in style; makes MoBay debut this week
Under the theme ‘Revolution: Celebrating the Crown Prince’, Reggae Wednesdays made its grand return last week, but at a new venue, the Festival Marketplace in downtown Kingston, rather than its former ‘home’, Emancipation Park in New Kingston.
Staged by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), the event coincided with the birthday of Dennis Brown, who was honoured earlier that day with a ceremony at his final resting place, National Heroes Park. Many of the persons who attended that event simply made the short journey down to the Festival Marketplace to continue the celebration.
Marketing director of JaRIA, June Isaacs, said that she was pleased with the first-week turnout.
“This is a very nice venue and, although the crowd was similar to what we would see at Emancipation Park, by week three we expect to have more diversity. We will be going harder with promoting this new space ... it is central and there aren’t the restrictions of Emancipation Park. But I’m pleased with the first week and it can only get better,” Isaacs said.
Among the artistes on the line-up were the Aqaba Drummers, whose jam session was welcoming; Shanice Sewell, Miguel of One Third, Ras-I, Chris Martin and George Nooks. Musician Rissa, made the steel pans sing. Since it was Dennis Brown, the artistes on line-up paid fulsome tribute to the late reggae singer. George Nooks was in excellent form, so much so that it was hard to believe that he is suffering from the effects of a pinched nerve which has been causing him immense discomfort and searing pain. Hailing up D Brown, Nooks delivered gems such as Money In My Pocket, Tribal War and Zion Gate.
Post performance, The Gleaner caught up with Chris Martin, who blazed on stage. He shared why he had to be present.
“Dennis Brown is one of my favourite singers and his work stands the test of time. He doesn’t have trending songs, he has big tunes ... columns. He’s a legend in the music and every chance that I get to honour him ... show how much I love and respect his art, I grab it. And that’s why I had to be here tonight, because he is such an important part of the music. I think that he and Bob Marley are even one of the foundation reasons why February is even Reggae Month, because both of them are born in February and they had to honour them. So we give thanks man ... D Brown ... the General. So, once I’m not travelling and I’m in Jamaica and live music a string up, Martin a send out the voice fi dem champion deh,” Chris Martin said.
Incorporated into the musical feast was a feast of food with vendors selling soup of all kinds as well as food and juices. JaRIA also used the opportunity to showcase, through video presentatios, some ‘irie’ food spots and chefs/cooks across the island.
Notably, the year 2023 heralds a new era for JaRIA’s signature Reggae Month event, as their partnership with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) will see the organisation making use of more UDC-owned venues for their activities. Therefore, on Wednesday, February 8, the event will make its out-of-town debut at the Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay.
‘Word, sound and Power’ is the theme and performing on stage will be Andrew Tosh, Hezron, Shuga, Mackie Conscious, Rosh Reign and Iyah Syte.
“We are trying to involve everybody because we hear the complaints. People say the ‘Everything deh a Kingston’, so we are taking it out of town,” an enthusiastic Isaacs explained.