Reggae boosts California festival

Thursday, July 10, 2014    

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Warren Smith, founder of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (SNWMF), says the decision to highlight reggae's diversity helped make this year's event a success.

The 21st staging of the festival took place June 20-22 in Boonville, California. Smith described it as "a feast for music lovers".

"It was a beautiful gathering of a diverse community of music lovers. We focused on deep reggae roots this year, as well as presenting new artistes. The roster was a treasure trove of artistic gems from around the world," Smith told the Jamaica Observer.

A broad cast again performed at the event including ska legend Derrick Morgan, rock steady acts Bob Andy and Carlton and the Shoes, Sly and Robbie, American band Rebelution, British lovers rock singer Bitty McLean and Tarrus Riley.

"Almost every artiste turned in a strong performance and was well received by the audience," said Smith.

The Sacramento-born Smith promoted his first reggae show at San Francisco's famed Winterland Auditorium in July 1975. Inner Circle, Dennis Brown and Toots and The Maytals performed.

Three years later, he held the Island Music Festival in Trelawny with Peter Tosh and Burning Spear as headliners.

The SNWMF is one of the leading reggae shows in the US. Smith credits its longevity to a more compact production in recent years.

"When we moved to our current home in Boonville nine years ago, we made a conscious decision to downsize the festival. So, in the sense of numbers, we have not grown but as an organisation we have flourished," he said.

— Howard Campbell





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