A virtual salute for Rebel
Rebel to salute Jan 15 &16Friday, January 08, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Another of Jamaica's music festivals is going the virtual route. The organisers of Rebel Salute, the two-day reggae festival, have announced that they, too, will be staging their production virtually as a result of the global health crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19, the novel strain of the coronavirus.
Promoter of the event, reggae recording artiste Tony Rebel, told the Jamaica Observer's Splash that his organisation would not want to be part of any event which serves to endanger the lives of reggae fans, so no consideration was being given to hosting a physical event this year.
The virtual staging of Rebel Salute will take place on January 15 and 16.
“Rebel Salute is all about safety. So given the prevailing conditions this year, and not wanting to put fans in any further harm than what they are already facing, we have decided to go virtual. The truth is this is something we have been doing over the years. Fans here at home and indeed all over the world have always been able to catch a live stream on some platform for a number of years, just like those who have joined us inside the various venues, which have played home to the festival. So we are really familiar with the virtual space and will be doing that for the Rebel Salute family this year,” he said.
He was, however, coy in sharing the details of the virtual showcase, preferring to keep information on the format and line-up of the event close to his chest.
“All I can say is that this year it is a special edition… OK, let's call it a docu-series that will unfold on January 15 and 16. There will be live performances, but that is all I'm willing to say at this time. The festival will be streamed on the major social media platforms and we are also in negotiations with an entity, so as soon as we conclude those discussions we will make it known,” said Tony Rebel.
Rebel Salute joins the list of music festivals and other events which have had to resort to virtual stagings due to COVID-19. Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica Festival Song Competition, Reggae Sunsplash, and the revamped Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival have all been affected by the pandemic.
Now in its 28th year, Rebel Salute started as Tony Rebel's birthday celebration and has grown from a one-night event at Brooks Park in Mandeville, to its present setting as a two-night event in St Ann. The event has grown and the promoter noted that 49 per cent of its patronage coming from overseas.
The list of acts who have performed on the festival over the nearly three decades reads like a who's who of the reggae and dancehall fraternity.
Beres Hammond, British reggae band Steel Pulse, Toots and the Maytals, Sanchez, Bobi Wine from Uganda, Beenie Man, Singing Melody, Leroy Sibbles, Stevie Face, Queen Ifrica, Flourgon, Trisha from Kenya, Chi Ching Ching, Carl Malcolm, Lone Ranger, General Trees, Sugar Roy, Jermaine Edwards, Rhoda Isabella, Wailers Trio, Mikey Spice, Chronic Law, Anthony B, I-Octane, Jesse Royal, I-Wayne, The Meditations, Wayne Wade, Louie Culture, Mortimer, Tony Tuff, Errol Dunkley, Lady G, and George Nooks are but some of the acts to have graced the festival's stage.
Rebel Salute was also the first music festival to be granted an exemption under the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act, this made possession of small amounts of marijuana acceptable under the law, based on the provisions for use of the 'herb' as a religious sacrament.
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