Singer Richie Spice in rehearsal for the Uppsala Reggae Festival next Saturday
For the second year local acts being streamed for Swedish reggae festival

FOR the second year running, the Uppsala Reggae Festival, which is usually staged in Sweden, will have segments streamed live from Harry J Recording Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, next Saturday.

The event will see local acts including Big Youth, Richie Spice, Josey Wales, Alaine, Hempress Sativa, and Asadenaki performing via livestream from an audience in Sweden and being incorporated in the line-up of acts performing on stage at the festival in the city of Uppsala near the country's captial of Stockholm. The acts performing on stage will include Anthony B, Million Stylez, Papa Dee, Desmond Foster, Junior Natural, First Light, Leafy, Marx Gallo, Daniella Torres, Jonas Levi and Soundkilla Mindset.

Tara Johnson, managing director of Harry J Recording Studio, shared that patrons can look forward to a great production with stunning visuals and clear audio, thanks to the team of professionals who have been brought on board to pull together this aspect of the festival.

“One new aspect this year is that we have included a screen in the studio so the Jamaican performers can see and interact with the audience in Sweden. This is the first time. as last year there was no live audience in Sweden — everything was virtual. With the screen, our acts can really feel the vibe of what is happening there and make it a true live moment with this extra touch. Right now Sweden has opened up to live entertainment so that's why they can have an audience, but there is still an issue with artistes getting in. The promoter was pleased with last year's showcase and decided that we have to repeat this year,” said Johnson.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Uppsala Reggae Festival is Scandinavia's first and largest pure reggae event and attracts hard-core reggae fans from all over Europe who share a love for the music.

While Johnson and her team here in Jamaica had nothing to do with the acts chosen for the festival, she explained that her role and function included that of logistics, coordination and production.

“It's really a collaborative effort. Like with the staging of any festival we are integral to what happens on the live feed coming out of Jamaica, with everyone playing their respective role. The festival provides a great exposure for Brand Jamaica, our music and the artistes themselves. Promoters and fans who are missing the staging of live events due to the pandemic now have an opportunity to see these acts on the Uppsala stage live from Jamaica. In addition, we here at Harry J are able to show what we can do in staging an event of this nature and serve to keep the music alive during the pandemic,” she noted.

Speaking of the pandemic, Johnson noted that the global health crisis has hit her studio hard, like other areas of the entertainment industry worldwide.

“It has been a tough time and the solution lies in everyone just learning to pivot in order to cope with the challenges. For many, there is no immediate benefit as they move to virtual performances to promote their music. Others have to understand the benefits of streaming in these times. And it's not just about pivoting. Personally, I have pivoted about three times to deal with the new regulations and protocols until we get back to some degree of normality. We know it will not be the same as it was before, but we look forward to going back to some form of firm footing.

Toaster Big Youth sharpens his skills in rehearsal forthe Swedish festival.
Tara Johnson of Harry J Recording Studio
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

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