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Trench Town Festival more than a party

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM
A section of Culture Yard in Trench Town. The building in the background is where Bob Marley wrote some of his most famous songs, while the old Volkswagen was owned by the late reggae superstar. Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer

Much has been made of Bob Marley's 67th birthday celebrations in Trench Town, International Night, at the Vin Lawrence Park, drawing the most attention.

While that concert is certainly important in recognising Marley, with all the big artistes coming out to show their appreciation for the contribution of the man, there is more.

Not enough has been said in the media, or otherwise, about the days of Community Festival prior to International Night.

The festival actually began on Friday.

On that day, Trench Town not only began celebrating the reggae icon's birthday, but also Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, and a celebration of all that is good about Trench Town.

Long-time resident and administrator of the Trench Town Peace and Justice Centre, Sonia Whyte, explained that the community sees the festival as a means of honouring the work of the great reggae icon Bob Marley and the place that inspired him. She said residents wanted to preserve Culture Yard and make it into one of the best community-based tourism products in Jamaica.

The festival also aims at bringing exposure to the community and promoting unity among its residents.

Thus, it was with much pride that the festival's organisers were able to announce an information fair as the first event of the festival.

The information fair included booths that provided health care, financial services and birth certificate information.

Vendors and exhibitors also benefited on the day.

Nyabinghi drumming ended Friday.

On Saturday, the 'Trod the Trod that Bob Marley Trod' (Fun Run/Walk) began in the wee hours of the morning, beginning at Culture Yard on First Street and ending at Boys' Town on Collie Smith Drive.

A sports day also helped to provide that feeling of unity among those living in Trench Town.

It was only after that groundwork was set, that the much-talked-about International Night came.

When the crowds left Trench Town on Sunday morning, there was more.

Trench Town went to church.

The Joint Community Church Service at the Trench Town Multi- Purpose Community Centre on Fifth Street, off Collie Smith Drive, began with a 9:30 a.m. service and ended with a fun day for the children of Trench Town and its environs, the Mini-Miss Trench Town competition an ever popular feature.

That night Pepper Sunday was held at the Vin Lawrence Park with local sound systems and artistes.

On Monday, the festival ended with a symposium at the Trench Town Multi-purpose Centre. The symposium explored Trench Town and its contribution to Jamaica and to reggae music as a global asset through its many cultural and development practitioners.