Inner Circle Fest gets nod
(From left) Moderator Judith Bodley sets the tone for a discussion while panellists Teejay, music director Courtney “Indian” Alexander, radio host Bambino, Freddie McGregor,Chino McGregor, and Ian Lewis, co-founder of Inner Circle, listen intently. The four-day event, dubbed Inner Circle Fest, was held at Inner Circle's north Miami studio in Florida, last week. (Photos: Courtesy of Circle House)

A strong response from the reggae community in South Florida to the inaugural Inner Circle Fest will see the event returning next year according to Abebe Lewis, head of marketing at Circle House Studios.

The November 15-18 conference attracted several high-profile music industry figures including Shaggy, Freddie McGregor, Michael Rose, and Sharon Burke of Solid Agency.

“You can look for Inner Circle Fest 2022 being bigger and better. More music panels, more music discussions, and more pairings of the younger artistes with the older artistes. That way we can have that connection so reggae music doesn't lose that vibe it started with,” said Lewis.

Inner Circle Fest was held at Circle House, the veteran band's north Miami headquarters. Most of the discussions centred around improving and reviving the reggae product, which is reeling from one year of setbacks caused by COVID-19.

Among the highlights was the launch of Riches wii A Pree, a collaboration between Inner Circle and Teejay. The song will be officially released in December.

Marcia Griffiths, Ky-Mani Marley, Chino McGregor, Konshens, Cham as well as rappers Fat Joe and Flo Rida, and Oliver Mair, Jamaica's consul general to Miami, also attended Inner Circle Fest.

In his address, Grammy winner Shaggy called for unity among reggae artistes. He said teamwork was critical to his success and also stressed the importance of the need for professionalism, especially in younger artistes.

Abebe Lewis is the son of Ian Lewis and nephew of Roger Lewis, who started Inner Circle as teenagers in 1968. A mainstay of the South Florida music scene, the band is best known for the global hit songs, Bad Boys and Sweat.

Abebe Lewis (left), marketing manager at Circle House Studios, makes a point to American rapper Fat Joe at Inner Circle Fest.
Roger Lewis (centre), co-founder of Inner Circle, makes a point toveteran singer Marcia Griffiths during a discussion panel at InnerCircle Fest, held at the band's north Miami studio, Florida, lastweek. At left is Ky-Mani Marley.
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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