Mavado, Konshens to headline Reggae In The Park
HOUSE parties and clubs in Jamaica rocked to Philadelphia soul music during the 1970s. Reggae has always had a bond with the City of Brotherly Love.
That relationship comes full circle on August 3 when the Reggae In The Park show takes place at The Mann in 'Philly'.
Its third staging has dancehall favourites Mavado and Konshens as headliners with hometown reggae rapper Matisyahu, California ska band The Expendables and British roots giants Steel Pulse also on the card.
Dave 'Jamaican Dave' Russell, promoter of the event, says given Philadelphia's massive Jamaican and West Indian community, it is appropriate shows like Reggae In The Park are held there.
"Philly is pretty much like any East Coast city, there's a lot of diversity. Music-wise, there's a large dancehall audience but it also has a good roots base," he told Splash.
Russell is quick to point out that Reggae In The Park is more than just another reggae show.
"We're trying to build a movement, pretty much like how they have done in California," he said.
The Linstead-born Russell has tried to emulate California reggae festivals by promoting shows with eclectic casts in East Coast cities such as Jersey and Washington, DC.
"There's a laid-back, positive vibe about the festival scene in California and it has worked for a number of years. They've got a movement and that's what we're aiming for," he said.
The long-running Sierra Nevada Music Festival and Reggae On The River, both held in California, are two of the biggest events showcasing reggae in the United States. Not many shows on the East Coast go beyond five years.
Reggae In The Park was first held in 2012 with Jimmy Cliff and Beres Hammond as the headliners. Last year, there was a bigger line-up headed by Beres Hammond, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Yellowman and Tarrus Riley.
— Howard Campbell