Reggae Month comes to South Florida in February with a number of events throughout the region staged by the Inner Circle band and Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA).
Activities kick off on February 1 with a dance featuring sound system selector Rory "Rory Stone Love" Gilligan at the trendy Racket venue in Wynwood, downtown Miami.
Abebe Lewis, Inner Circle's marketing manager, told the Jamaica Observer that Reggae Month's events promise "a little taste of everything" for lovers of Jamaican culture. He said that will be reflected at the Wynwood show.
"Wynwood is a great cultural area, because it's a melting pot of Miami. There's Caribbean, Latin cultureâ€¦there's a great diversity and we plan to mix it up," Lewis stated.
Caribe Arts Fest on February 4 at Caribearts in north Miami is the other event for opening week. It highlights local reggae bands from the Latin and Haitian communities.
Jamaican sound system culture returns to Racket on February 08 with selectors Waggy T and Jazzy T, stalwarts of the South Florida dancehall circuit.
While music is the dominant theme, Lewis noted that focus will also be on commerce at the Global Awakening Conference, a panel discussion involving Inner Circle and Mykal Rose on February 26.
Among the topics to be discussed are the roles streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal play in exposing artistes and their songs.
"We are trying to transition the business and show the influence of curators, people who run the playlists and things like that. We want to show how the music is integrated," Lewis explained.
JaRIA, which also plays an integral role promoting Reggae Month activities in Jamaica, has endorsed the inaugural Reggae Month South Florida. Due to a massive Jamaican presence in areas like Miami, Lauderhill, Miramar, Tamarac, and Pembroke Pines, the region is one of the leading centres for Jamaican culture overseas.
Inner Circle, which celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, are largely responsible for reggae's growth in South Florida. Their songs, Bad Boys and Sweat, are international anthems while their recording complex in north Miami attracts some of the biggest names in pop music.
Rose, Beres Hammond, and Inner Circle will be honoured throughout Reggae Month South Florida.