According to Andrea Davis the founder of International Reggae Day, despite the strides made in the music over the years, “reggae is still not being given a priority in terms of investment and promotion here”. She further noted that far more enthusiasm exists outside of Jamaica.
“There is an under-appreciation of the value of reggae and what it means and can mean to our economy based on the impact it continues to have in the marketplace. This is also an opportunity for the local music industry to pull together, as Jamaica is the culturally authentic home to reggae,” said Davis.
She explained that this is the thinking behind the conference being staged at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew as part of Reggae Day celebrations. According to Davis, the conference will focus on how Jamaica can claim a larger slice of the international reggae market. As well as look at the sound system fraternity and the contribution it has made to the development of Jamaican music and culture.
“How do we secure a share of what’s out there, that’s what we will be focusing on. As the home of reggae, when you look out there are so many versions of ourselves. For example, right now there are more sound systems outside of Jamaica. There are secure brand deals and making inroads into the market which Jamaicans are not doing or not in a position to see. We need to become more proactive in maintaining our competitive advantage or we won’t being in that position for long,” said Davis.
This year, IRD will continue its celebrations in cities and on radio stations. Some of the cities officially on board are New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, London and Mumbai, India.
Entities in these areas will observe the day with concerts, parties, dances, pop-up shop exhibits and film screenings.
The celebrations in Jamaica will be anchored at the Jamaica Pegasus. The annual conference, mural installation and IRD digital art exhibit featuring works from the International Reggae Poster Contest, will be on show.
The event will culminate with a live concert at the Countryside Club in Half-Way-Tree.
Artistes already confirmed as IRD Ambassadors include Sly & Robbie, Toots & the Maytals, Inner Circle, Third World, Steel Pulse, Freddie McGregor, Marcia Griffiths, Luciano, Tarrus Riley, Protoje, I-Wayne, Kymani Marley, Cherine Anderson, Junior Kelly, Jah9, Maxi Priest, Alborosie and Indian artistes, Delhi Sultante and Begum X.