Sashi returns to Jamaica May 2024's an experience that sells itself. Yes, I think it will do better.

TWENTY-TWO years after its last staging at the James Bond Beach in Oracabessa, St Mary, the popular Sashi Experience Festival will make its return from May 23-26 next year.

The disclosure was made by Sashi founder, CEO, and music executive Horatio Hamilton in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.

"Yes, we will be back on May 23 next year. This will be our 25th anniversary and we will have between eight and nine international acts. Half of the line-up has already been confirmed," said Hamilton.

Aside from the main concert event, which is scheduled for Plantation Cove in St Ann, there will be a Sashi Gala in Kingston, which will be by invitation only, and a celebrity poker tournament for charity in St Ann.

"The line-up will be mostly hip hop and R&B acts, something for everybody," Hamilton disclosed.

Sashi, first held in 1999, was last staged in 2002. Asked whether the event is still relevant and can attract the thousands of patrons like it did in the past, Hamilton said: "It's an experience that sells itself. Yes, I think it will do better. Back then, Jamaicans weren't into certain music, just straight R&B, and Sashi has been synonymous with changing the landscape of events in Jamaica. We were the first to bring multiple overseas acts to the island."

R&B singers Usher and Donell Jones, along with rappers Eve and Busta Rhymes, Tweet, Bling Dawg, TOK, Dawn Penn, Super Cat, and The John Shop Family were among the performers at the last staging of The Sashi Experience.

Other performers over the years include P Diddy, Next, Brian McKnight, Tyrese, Shabba Ranks, Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim, Ginuwine, Wyclef Jean, and Missy Elliott.

The event in 2001 drew more than 15,000 patrons, according to a report in Billboard magazine.

With the recent announcement that R&B singer Usher is set to perform at next February's Super Bowl and then to embark on a world tour, Hamilton was asked if there were plans to have the entertainer on the Sashi line-up. He said, "Anything is possible, but it will take a lot of things into consideration."

Aside from events, Hamilton moved on into music production, with his label LOY being responsible for producing numerous reggae/dancehall songs, including the hit single Chi-Chi Man by TOK.

Sashi came to an abrupt end after Hamilton was indicted in federal court as the leader of a multimillion-dollar, New York-to-LA marijuana-trafficking ring. In 2006 he was sentenced in a Manhattan federal court to 25 years in prison for conspiring to traffic over a ton of marijuana a week for approximately seven years. He was ordered to forfeit US$10 million and a house in Encino, California.

After spending 16 years and 10 months behind bars, Hamilton was released from the McRae Correctional Institution in Georgia on November 4, 2021.

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