Big plans for 'Wednesdays'

Big plans for 'Wednesdays'

By Aaliyah
Cunningham
Observer writer

Saturday, February 22, 2020

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Ewan Simpson, chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), says his team is already putting plans in place to extend 'Reggae Wednesdays' beyond Reggae Month.

The free concert, held in Emancipation Park in Kingston every Wednesday, is one of the longest-running events that make up the Reggae Month calendar.

He was speaking with the Jamaica Observer at Wednesday's third-week staging of the event.

“We want to do this all over the island,” he said.

“We want to provide for Jamaicans and friends of Jamaicans to just come out on a weekday afternoon and just go to park, walk around, sit down, and talk about what we doing with the music... enjoy great performances. We can stream it to the rest of the world; everybody can know that Jamaica is reggae central, it is reggae capital. There should be somewhere in Jamaica where you can go and get reggae music without having to fight yuh way into a corner, so we trying to make sure that we have this — providing for the people of Jamaica,” he continued.

Wednesday's show saw the largest turnout yet. Seemingly expected, organisers even brought out extra chairs to ensure that those who were late could comfortably enjoy the show.

“The popularity is growing; more people are hearing the word. As with most good events, they grow over time. Once you keep staging them, more people know and they keep coming out,” Simpson said.

For the large crowd that showed up, the performances held true to the night's theme 'Reggae Got Soul'.

Christopher Martin, who is arguably one of the most successful Digicel Rising Stars winners, was certainly a 'big deal'.

His small frame packs a big voice that echoed throughout Emancipation Park as he treated the audience to hit songs. The singer opened his set soulfully, giving commentary on the current state of the Jamaican society. He moved to his popular hit, Mama. He then serenaded the females with Take My Love and, as the energy in the venue peaked, he turned up the vibes with Leave People Business, and Cheater's Prayer. The cheers from the crowd signalled a job well done.

Toots and the Maytals also added thier flavour to Wednesday's line-up, treating the audience to a blast from the past with Never You Change, Sweet and Dandy, and Pomps and Pride.

Other notable performances came from veteran Luciano and 2009 Digicel Rising Stars winner Shuga.

In True JaRIA style, the event saw a mixture of established and up-and-coming artistes inclusive of Earthkry, Ras-I, Ras Ajai, Jahdon, Lymie Murray and Akwaaba.

Olivia “Babsy” Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, was also present at Wednesday's show and took some time to big up the organisers.

Next week's show is set to be the gospel edition, and Simpson expects that it will be the best one yet.

“It's Ash Wednesday, it's a holiday, people will be able to come out to the park early — having stayed home all day or having gone to church and then gone home — so they gonna come to celebrate and worship in reggae music,” he said.


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