Ska & Rocksteady fest set for Nov 26 

Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett (left) greets conceptualiser of the festival Julian ‘Jingles’ Reynolds, while Colin Leslie of Sounds and Pressure looks on. (Lionel Rookwood)

Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett and his culture and entertainment counterpart, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, have called for more Jamaican entertainment events with international appeal.

Music insiders Clyde McKenzie (left) Winston ‘Sparrow’ Martin (centre) and Bunny Goodison, share a moment at Tuesday’s launch of the One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival at the knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew (Lionel Rookwood)

Music insiders Clyde McKenzie (left) Winston ‘Sparrow’ Martin (centre) and Bunny Goodison, share a moment at Tuesday’s launch of the One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival at the knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew (Lionel Rookwood)

The joint statement was made yesterday at the launch of the One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. The event is set for November 26 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.

Organised by Sounds And Pressure Foundation, the festival aims to put the spotlight on those two genres as well as Kingston.

Bartlett and Grange acknowledged that the event fits in with the vision and objectives of their ministries.

“No visit to Cuba is complete unless you visit Tropicana. Every night there is that same high-quality production. In Argentina, there is tango. We need to create a space where every night there is a high-quality reggae event somewhere,” he said.

“The timing is right. We have to create events to combat tourism seasonalities…filling the down months of September to December. Come to me and once we see that they are sustainable, of a high quality and marketable, we will assist you,” added Bartlett.

Grange noted that her ministry is committed to creating a national festival calendar which would assist in getting the word out on events taking place here.

“I’ve consistently reiterated that we have not taken advantage of the possibilities that exist for our music and culture. I am committed through my ministry to ensuring that we maximise the vast potential for earnings in the areas of music, culture, entertainment, and sports. It is now time to monetise all that, ensuring that earnings from these dynamic products flow back into the country to boost the national economy,” she said.

Julian ‘Jingles’ Reynolds of Sounds And Pressure said the idea for the festival came many years ago during a trip to New Orleans. He sees the inaugural staging as a move to protect the music’s cultural legacy.

“This is a tactical move. We want to position Kingston as a cultural destination… one which has given the world four distinct genres of popular music — ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dancehall. This festival further aims to bring world focus to Kingston and benefit the people of Kingston. Music tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of this market. It is estimated that 10 million people travel worldwide for music festivals. If we can get 0.3 per cent of this market to come to the One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival, we would be doing good,” Reynolds explained.

Confirmed acts include The Skatalites, Soweto Ska Band from Spain, Leroy Sibbles, and Marcia Griffiths.

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