'Sounds' string up for Miami festTuesday, July 27, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Born in St Maarten and raised in New York City, Alfonso Brooks soaked up the diverse sounds that helped make living in the Big Apple exciting during the 1980s and 1990s. Jamaican dancehall/reggae from that era enticed him.
Brooks, now based in South Florida, is still drawn to Jamaican culture. His Afrikin Foundation and Rockers Movement pay homage to sound systems August 7-8 with the Miami Reggae Festival, which takes place at Opa-Locka Marketplace.
Sixteen 'sounds' from Jamaica and the United States will participate in the event, including MetroMedia, Stone Love, Bass Odyssey, Downbeat The Ruler, King Addies International, and King Waggy Tee. Each had a dominant role in exposing dancehall artistes and their songs in the last 35 years.
Adonai Sound, Big Life Sound, King Champion, Ontrack Disco, Overproof Movements, Poison Dart, Rocksteadyy, Soul Supreme, Super Storm and Warrior Sound International will also be in attendance at the two-day extravaganza which is being held as Jamaica celebrates its 59th anniversary of independence.
“This event gives them [sound systems] a chance to show their culture and their artistry and how the world recognises them. It is necessary to remember that this is where it all started,” Brooks told the Jamaica Observer.
He added that organisers are expecting 9,000 fans on each day of the Miami Reggae Festival. Miami-Dade and Broward counties are home to massive West Indian communities, as well as Latinos who have acquired a taste for dancehall/reggae through the Reggaeton phenomenon.
The Miami Reggae Festival was first held in 2010; its inaugural staging attracted a potent lineup that saluted reggae's roots. Bunny Wailer, Toots And The Maytals, and Marcia Griffiths were co-headliners, supported by Steel Pulse and Midnite.
Deejay Brigadier Jerry and singer Michael Palmer, dancehall stalwarts from the 1980s, will be part of an old-school 'juggling' with the sound systems.
A sound engineer by profession, Brooks has worked on tour and in the studio with acts such as Buju Banton and Midnite. He and his business partners founded the Miami Reggae Festival to bring awareness about hunger and poverty in South Florida.
Since its inception, the event has raised over 8,000 tonnes of food which is distributed throughout the community after the show.
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