A two-day concert just wrapped up on the North Coast. Called Rebel Salute, the inaugural show took place 20 years ago in Mandeville. It was originally intended to honour the birthday of artist Patrick “Tony Rebel” Barrett, and this year was held in the parish of St. Ann. This year marks the first time the show spanned two days, and in true Jamaican fashion, it starts late and ends early- early morning, that is. According to Twitter, it looks like it wrapped up somewhere between eight and nine this morning.
The artists would mainly be considered roots reggae, and this year the lineup included the great Beres Hammond, Sizzla, Queen Ifrica, Busy Signal (maybe not so much roots reggae, but beloved nonetheless as he was freed from jail several months ago), Tony Rebel, Proteje, Luciano, Tarrus Riley, Chronixx (who everyone is buzzing about as one to watch in JA this year, check out a piece fellow volunteer Erin did here.) There seems to be a feeling amongst people that roots reggae, as opposed to dancehall, is enjoying a resurgence of late. People suppose that with a major artist like the prolific Vybz Kartel still in jail, the void has left an opening for the more traditional, laid-back roots music to gain prominence again.
Perhaps a successful Rebel Salute will contribute to this. A little bit more about the festival: organizers promise an environment free of violence, drugs (probably excluding ganja), alcohol and meat and focus on a a family-oriented experience where authentic Jamaican cuisine is served. Here’s how organizers describe the event, from their website:
“Rebel Salute has captured the adoration of roots reggae lovers worldwide. Combined with the warm hospitality and abundant culture of the Jamaican people, this event is not one to be missed. Hailed today as a spiritual renaissance, it has become the bedrock for the exposure and celebration of Jamaican roots music. As the first cultural event for the New Year, the showcase has become a very proud process of reclaiming the moral high ground once occupied by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and others. Nothing can be more symbolic of Jamaica’s cultural legacy than a resounding clash between the heart and the mind: “when the music hits, you feel no pain”.
I did not make it up this time- I am heading up there on Thursday though for the Jazz and Blues Festival! But by all accounts, it was an amazing festival. And here’s some Chronixx for you to enjoy.