Today is International Reggae Day


The Jamaica Observer reminds us that today is International Reggae Day! Richard Johnson tells us that the Kingston Waterfront will come alive today in celebration of reggae. “For 10 hours,” he writes, “starting at 4:00pm, Ocean Boulevard will morph into a street jam featuring a number of sound system selectors, and media personalities.” The event in Kingston, Jamaica, will honor the art of dub as well as pioneers and performers such as Mutabaruka, Oku Onura, Big Youth, and U-Roy. Furthermore, Beres Hammond will receive the Living Legend Award and a special segment will pay homage to the “Crown Prince of Reggae” Dennis Brown. Johnson also lists several sister events around the world:

IRD conceptualiser Andrea Davis said this year the celebrations will be taken to the street, in addition to the media festival which encourages programmers to include reggae music in all its forms from rocksteady to dancehall on their playlists for the day.

“This year we are partnering with the Ministry of Culture, The Urban Development Corporation, the city of Kingston which is celebrating 145 year of capital status, as well as a UNESCO designation as a creative city to bring what is good and wholesome about reggae music to the streets of the city.”

“In addition to the music and guest artistes, we will be having skateboard and BMX demonstrations in the day. There will also be booths creating a kind of village vibe, showcasing the food, art and fashion that the city is known for. Come nightfall, there will be a digital art exhibit on the wall of the UDC building paying tribute to artist Michael Thompson and featuring the entries from the International Reggae Poster Contest,” Davis continued.

The event will also be used to honour the art of dub. Four pioneers and supports of this Jamaican music form, Mutabaruka, Oku Onura, Big Youth, and U-Roy will be honoured. Reggae singer Beres Hammond will receive the Living Legend Award at Saturday’s event. A special segment of the show will pay homage to the ‘Crown Prince of Reggae’ Dennis Brown who died on July 1, 1999.

Internationally, IRD will be observed with a number of events including a Boat Party in Bangkok, Thailand; a film screening and panel discussion in London, England; a sound system party in São Paulo, Brazil; and the opening of an art exhibit curated by Maxine Walters, featuring dancehall signs, in New Orleans in the United States.

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