Entertainment

The French reggae beat

By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer staff reporter livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 05, 2013    

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This is the fourth in an eight-part series on reggae summer festivals around the world.

For four days (July 24-27), the city of Bagnols-sur-Cèze in Southern France, will be dominated by Jamaican culture with the Garance Reggae Festival.

Antoine Jamet, a Garance spokesperson, spoke to Splash about its progress after 24 years.

"When the festival took place in Paris in 1989 it was for one night only, an indoor show at Bercy venue. Capacity was around 17 000 persons," he said.

According to Jamet, since 2010 the show's concept has changed.

"The four days attract more than 50,000 people each year. Two stages, one for sound systems and another one for live bands."

This year, there is a new feature on opening night -- a tribute to sound system culture with 'Chinese Man, Inna Sound System Style'.

A clash of the titans pits Jamaican 'sound' Killamanjaro against French veterans Soul Stereo and Rootical Warriors.

The live segment also has a special segment. There will be a tribute to singer Jacob Miller who died in a motor accident 33 years ago in Kingston at age 25.

Inner Circle, the band Miller fronted, are part of this salute. So too musician Addis Pablo, son of dub visionary Augustus Pablo. Who produced much of the singer's early work.

Steel Pulse, Sizzla, Ky-Mani Marley, Ini Kamoze, Anthony B, Cornell Campbell and Don Carlos are also on the Garance 2013 card.

Jamet says booking artistes has got easier but it is not always smooth sailing.

"Some of them have a good/serious management and/or agent, so of course it's easier to deal with them especially when they already are on tour in Europe."

Bagnols-sur-Ceze is a small city with about 15,000 residents. During the Garance festival, Jamet says the population grows substantially.

"Which it is of course really good for the local economy; shops, hotels, food etc."

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