A revitalized Reggae Sunsplash returns

August 2006 will be the hottest month in Jamaica, as it will herald the return of Reggae Sunsplash, one of the most respected and phenomenal music festivals the world has seen, a press release said.

The line-up includes big name acts such as Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Morgan Heritage, UB40, Beenie Man, Freddie McGregor, Buju Banton and Maxi Priest to name but a few.

The organizers promise that this year’s Reggae Sunsplash will retain its cutting edge by showcasing the best mix of established and fresh talent.

Reggae Sunsplash, which originated in 1978, was the precursor of the Reggae festival concept, a world-class showcase of the Reggae and Dancehall stars from home and abroad, infused with a select sampling of international acts.

The festival easily cemented its place as a premier event on the annual cultural calendar of Jamaica, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the island. Its stage has been graced by an enviable list of Reggae greats, including Reggae King of the World, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jacob ‘Killer’ Miller and the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown.

International artistes also have proved the Reggae Sunsplash stage a cultural melting pot; R&B legend, Stevie Wonder, in performance with Reggae band, Third World in 1981, caught up in the euphoria of the moment, ad-libbed Master Blaster (Jammin’) which became a mega-international hit.

The top-flight performances, coupled with a varied fare of local art, craft and foods like the specialty Jamaican ‘jerk’ method of fire-roasting chicken and pork, created not only a great series of concerts, but an undeniably Jamaican cultural experience.

The 2006 staging of the lionised Reggae festival will be no different. The same elements which doubly made the festival a treasure for locals and gave it world renowned stature will again be incorporated to produce a four-night musical exposé. Leading proponents of the Reggae and Dancehall genres like Culture, Steel Pulse, Toots and the Maytals, Freddie McGregor, Morgan Heritage, Buju Banton, Beenie Man and Elephant Man, as well as Diana King, Maxi Priest and UB40, are only a few of the stars scheduled to perform.

NEW MANAGEMENT

The festival is now under new management, including innovative investors and some members of the original Sunsplash team.

Reggae Sunsplash will bring together top-flight Reggae and Dancehall stars with an infusion of international acts. The organizers have also added a few extras this year. Some of these are designated areas for dominoes, family activities, arts, crafts and souvenir villages, skyboxes and spiral seating. There will also be two stages, including an amphitheatre which will abolish production pauses for set changes, integrated by numerous screens and surround sound. The organisers will maintain a strong emphasis on security, crowd control and health safety.

Another highlight of the Festival is its new home at Richmond Estate, a sprawling 200 acre property on the edge of the sparkling, turquoise Caribbean Sea, with the majesty of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains as its backdrop. Located in Priory, in the garden parish of St. Ann, home of the world famous Dunn’s River Falls and the birth places of both Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley, the venue is in close proximity to Jamaica’s largest concentration of hotel rooms.

The Festival Park has the capacity to accommodate over 150,000 persons in the main area and 20,000 vehicles in the car park comfortably. Reggae Sunsplash patrons will also benefit from the established transportation network and the exciting leisure activities and attractions which the parish has to offer.[0]

‘Sunsplash was last held in 1997. The truth is that we needed to take a break, take a long look at the Festival and ensure that the product we had to offer would be in keeping with the Reggae Sunsplash tradition,’ revealed Charles Campbell, Director of Operations (1984-1994), and current Director of Operations and Production in the new management structure. ‘We think that we have now found a formula that will work, a new venue, new investors with innovative ideas, and a number of members from the original Sunsplash team, to ensure that the characteristic features of the Festival which made it a production success are retained.

‘What we will be presenting is not a new Festival; it’s an enhanced Reggae Sunsplash, a model that will provide a great experience for another few decades.’

Corporate Jamaica seems to agree. Already Jamaica’s largest telecommunications provider, Cable and Wireless Jamaica Limited (CWJ) has welcomed with open arms, the return of the Festival by becoming a partner.

Rodney Davis, President and CEO of CWJ, signalled the company’s support by saying, ‘The love of Reggae music unites people; not just our own people here, but it’s a common bond we share with so many people around the world. It’s a natural fit for CWJ to support the Festival, as we continually strive to bring people together as a business, and Reggae Sunsplash will bring so many people together in such a positive way’.

An action packed Dancehall Night will kick off the Festival on Thursday, 3 August, followed by Worldbeat Night on Friday, 4 August, International Night on Saturday 5 August, culminating on Sunday, 6 August with a foray into Jamaica classics with Singers’ Night.

Dancehall Night

(Thursday, 3 August)

  1. Bascom X
  2. Natty King
  3. Tanto Metro & Devonte
  4. Ce’ Cile
  5. I-Wayne
  6. Hero
  7. Chezidek
  8. Perfect
  9. Twin of Twins
  10. Macka Diamond
  11. Mr. Vegas
  12. Wayne Marshall
  13. Richie Spice
  14. Turbulence
  15. Assassin
  16. Busy Signal
  17. Lady Saw
  18. Elephant Man
  19. Vybz Kartel
  20. Bounty Killer
  21. Ninja Man

World Beat Night

(Friday, 4 August)

1 Lions of Israel (Brazilian Reggae Band)

2 Alerta (Columbian Reggae Band)

3 Sharon Tucker

4 Nadine Sutherland

5 Mey Vidal

6 Capital D

7 Bushman

8 Chaka Demus & Pliers

9 Junior Kelly

10 SudSoundSystem

11 Alpha Blondy

12 Machel Montana

13 Morgan Heritage

14 luciano

International Night

(Saturday, 5 August)

  1. Natesha Stream
  2. Kamau
  3. Alaine
  4. Tanya Stephens
  5. Steel Pulse
  6. Buju Banton
  7. UB40
  8. Beenie Man

Singer’s Night

(Sunday, 6 August)

  1. The Tamlins
  2. Admiral Bailey
  3. Mighty Diamonds
  4. Ken Boothe
  5. Frankie Paul
  6. Leroy Sibbles
  7. Pinchers
  8. John Holt
  9. Marcia Griffiths/Bob Andy
  10. Diana King
  11. Maxi Priest
  12. Toots & The Maytals
  13. Culture
  14. Gregory Issacs
  15. Half Pint
  16. Freddie McGregor
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