FOR the past 13 years, GT Taylor has returned to his home parish St Elizabeth to stage the Boom Christmas Reggae Extravaganza.
The show usually takes place on December 25 at Independence Park in Black River, the parish's chief town.
Taylor, who hosts the weekly In The Dancehall show on Irie FM, says while music remains the primary focus of his show, introducing the region to a new demographic is also high on the agenda.
"This year, we'll be saluting authentic reggae and dancehall but we're also looking to expose the south coast as much as possible," he told the Sunday Observer.
Taylor is president of the Black River Chamber of Commerce and a member of the South Coast Resort board. He says much has made about the area's eco-tourism prowess, but its potential as a music centre is untapped.
"There is a lot that can be done in terms of promoting the music. There are a lot of visitors to the south coast and they need to know this side of the area."
St Elizabeth attracts tourists who prefer its intimate inns and small properties to the swanky all-inclusive hotels of Negril and Montego Bay.
The parish, which produced artistes like singer Tyrone Taylor and dub poet Yasus Afari, has a growing dancehall/reggae scene.
The Boom Christmas Reggae Extravaganza will this year showcase vintage and contemporary dancehall artistes including Charlie Chaplin and Josey Wales, Admiral Tibet, Ninja Man, Louie Culture, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, QQ, Romain Virgo and Jah Bouks.
Dancehall music was about to transcend its underground base when Taylor joined the year-old Irie FM in 1991. The all-reggae radio station helped that growth by playing the music of the genre's leading lights including Garnett Silk, Tony Rebel, Admiral Tibet and Shabba Ranks.
He commented on dancehall's evolution.
"Technology has changed the music a lot. Now, you have a lot of beat masters and that's what's killing the music," he said. "We're making music that's not sustainable."
This year, the Boom Christmas Reggae Extravaganza will be involved in humanitarian and charity initiatives. Organisers will once again work with the St Elizabeth Care Committee on a feeding programme for street people.
Taylor says schools in "deep, rural St Elizabeth" are to benefit from the show, as well.
— Howard Campbell