The Bob Marley Museum was ‘a buzz’ with music industry professionals, politicians and tourists as JaRIA unveiled a full Calendar of activities for Reggae Month beginning January 29 with the Dennis Brown Tribute Concert on Orange Street. The show featured artistes such as Damian and Stephen Marley, Tarrus Riley, Cocoa Tea, Junior Reid, Beres Hammond, Half Pint, John Holt and Ken Boothe.
Mr. Abishai Hoilett, youth representative on the JaRIA Board revealed that JaRIA’s signature event ‘Reggae Nights’ will be held at the Emancipation Park for this year to accommodate the many patrons who were unable to partake last year due to limited space at Edna Manley College. The weekly Wednesday events will dramatically chronicle the movement of reggae through a series of five live concerts featuring drumming, folk, mento, jazz, classical, dancehall and alternative. The first in the series of Wednesday Reggae Nights will feature Classical, Jazz, Mento and Ska and will showcase acts such as the Edna Manley College Orchestra, Pimento Players, Jamaica Symphony Orchestra, Gilzene and the Blue Light Mento Band, Jamarokaz, Maurice Gordon Quartet, Yaad Beat, Samuele Vivian, NRI Workshop and The Jolly Boys.
The Edna Manley College remains one of the major sponsors of Reggae Month and will host a number of other events including a symposium on February 17 and 18 for industry professionals. Mr. Hoilet encouraged persons interested in the symposium to contact the JaRIA offices at 978- 7636 for further details and bookings.
Chairman of JaRIA and host for the night Mr. Ibo Cooper lauded the sponsors of Reggae Month and reiterated the need for corporate support of this National Event. He posited that he was especially pleased the Jamaica Tourist Board has partnered with JaRIA to host Reggae Month 2012 and welcomed the support from the Ministry of Youth and Culture. The Hon. Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture pledged her support of Reggae Month and assured JaRIA that the Ministry was committed to a strengthened relationship with the organization. Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment the Hon. Damion Crawford stressed the fact that “A reggae put Jamaica pon top” and reiterated the need for the nation to recognize the potential of Entertainment Tourism in Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae which was earlier emphasized by Mr. Jason Hall, Deputy Director of Tourism Attractions, Cruises and Events.
Reggae Month was officially declared by Sir Kenneth Hall, then Governor General of Jamaica on January 24, 2008 and JaRIA has been coordinating activities since 2010. Other sponsors for Reggae Month include The Edna Manley College , RJR Group, IRIE FM, Zip FM The Jamaica Observer and Rum Bar Rum.