The Growth of Destination Music Festivals in the Reggae Genre
Once upon a time, the 311 Cruise was a unique experience for a band in the reggae genre, but fans have increased the demand for similar events from many other upper echelon bands.
Since 2010, when 311 announced their first cruise through the Caribbean and hosting their subsequent Pow Wow Festival in 2011, other bands have followed suit and hosted their own tropical getaways with the spotlight on their music.
Damian Marley sold out his first Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise in 2014, and “Jr. Gong” has continued the voyage every year since. Slightly Stoopid recently celebrated their 5th anniversary, going down to Mexico for their Closer to the Sun Festival. Rebelution hosted The Bright Side Festival in Jamaica. And, in the United States, Dirty Heads will be hosting their Orlando Vacation this spring.
The festival circuit has also experienced tremendous growth alongside the reggae genre. What first sprouted as a single-day gathering headlined by Dirty Heads and Tribal Seeds ten years ago, California Roots Music and Arts Festival has blossomed into a 3-day convention for the entire genre. And, fans have turned that into a trek to see all their favorite performers in one place.
The list of festivals that follow a similar storyline is extensive. Every location has written their own tale.
From Reggae Rise Up in Florida, Levitate Music and Arts Festival in Massachusetts, One Love Cali Reggae Fest in Long Beach, Reggae on the Rocks in Colorado, The MayJah RayJah in Hawaii, Island Reggae Festival in San Jose and Arizona Roots, among others, the genre is all over the map with destination festivals.
And, more and more bands are hosting their own single-day showcases in desirable cities and historic venues, celebrating holidays throughout the year. These bands have found a successful plan to continue satisfying the increased demand within the genre.
In all honesty, what fan wouldn’t enjoy celebrating a holiday, taking a tropical vacation on a Caribbean cruise, standing on a beach at destination festival, while listening to their favorite music?
Lyrics to Live By: SOJA – “Open My Eyes”
Inspiration can be found in all forms, including the music that we love. A chorus in our favorite song can be the light we need.
At the heart of reggae music, the lyrics in place have focused on the themes of uplifting, hopeful, loving and faith based inspiration. Think of the power of Bob Marley’s ubiquitous image, music, and lyrics so many years after his death.
The reason Bob Marley lives so strongly in the public imagination today is because his music and lyrics had a meaningful and positive message. Marley’s music was transformative, aspiring to make the world a better place, and inspire those that listened to his music to achieve a better way of life.
Hope is powerful because it energizes and propels people forward even when the odds are against them. It helps people find innovative ways to work around their constraints. Hope helps people rise above their circumstances.
Both positivity and negativity can help people get through tough times. The difference is that positivity can lead the way toward positive action for a better future. For all of this world’s different cultures, positive lyrics provide a motivating soundtrack.
No matter where you are or at what state of life you reside, begin your week with Lyrics to Live By.
SOJA – “Open My Eyes”
I open my eyes, each morning I rise
to find the truth I know that is there.
I’m lucky to breathe, I’m lucky to feel,
I’m glad to wake up, I’m glad to be here.
With all of this world, and all of it’s pain,
all of its lies, and all of its let downs…
I still feel a sense of freedom
So glad I’m around.
Revival of Female Vocalists in Reggae
Throughout the lifespan of reggae music, male talent has dominated the genre. In the recent years, there has been a revival of female vocalists in reggae music.
From the early days of The I-Three, singing back up vocals for Bob Marley and The Wailers to solo stars like Sister Carol, Diana King, Sandra Cross and the “Queen of Lovers Rock,” Janet Kay, the aforementioned singers have all cemented their legacy in the foundation of female reggae artists. However, there has been a gap within female talent over the last ten years, until now.
Recently, the island chain of Hawaii has been a hotbed for up-and-coming and main stage female reggae artists. The trailblazer that has prompted this revival is Anuheake’alaokalokelani Jenkins, known as simply, Anuhea. After being a self-taught guitarist and writing original tunes, Anuhea began performing locally in Hawaii. A year later, Anuhea performed at the world renowned South By Southwest Music Showcase in Austin, TX.
2010 was Anuhea’s breakout year as a performer, playing alongside Jack Johnson and Ziggy Marley at the Waikiki Shell on Oahu, as well as releasing her first studio album titled, Anuhea. Soon after, Anuhea received two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s version of the Grammy’s), one for Contemporary Album of the Year and the other for Most Promising Artist, among both male and female artists.
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