IT was 24 years ago that music producer/artiste manager Patrick Roberts initiated a venture to entertain residents in troubled communities.
That venture, Ghetto Splash, became one of the most anticipated dancehall events.
After a 17-year break, the show returns on December 17 at Drewsland Mini-stadium in Waterhouse, Kingston.
Roberts and his Shocking Vibes Productions are again in charge of the free concert.
"This year, Ghetto Splash will benefit thousands of fans who can't afford to pay to see their favourite artistes. We (Shocking Vibes) have partnered with Downsound Records and MD Entertainment and we also have a number of media houses on board," Roberts told Splash.
The first Ghetto Splash was held in Roberts' hometown of Craig Town, St Andrew, in 1989. Among the artistes who performed were Beenie Man, Little Kirk, Tanto Metro, Maxi Priest, Wayne Wonder, Lady Mackerel (now known as Macka Diamond), Captain Barkey and Wicker Man, Tiger, Papa San, Johnny P, Louie Culture, John Holt, Frankie Paul, Barrington Levy, Junior Reid, Echo Minott, Peter Metro, Anthony Red Rose and Pan Head.
"In 1996 when we had outgrown our Craig Town venue, we moved the eighth staging to (National) Heroes Park, the largest free concert ever to be held in Jamaica. The police estimated 50,000 were in attendance that night. I invited the leaders of the three main political parties at the time, PJ Patterson, Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding to shake hands on stage. It was incident-free," Roberts reflected.
He cited lack of corporate support for the event's prolonged absence.
"This charity concert is costly although all entertainers performed free of cost. We weren't attracting the kind of sponsorship that we needed so we took a little break," he explained. "Each year we promised to put on the event but again we came up short sponsorship-wise'.
Among those confirmed for Ghetto Splash in December are Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Ninja Man, Popcaan, Sizzla, Nature, Jah Bouks, Tarrus Riley, Romain Virgo, Spice, Macka Diamond, Tanto Metro and Devonte, Jahmiel, I-Octane, Assassin, Kip Rich, Bugle, Laden, Charlie Chaplin and Josey Wales.