GUEST POST by Diana O’Gilvie of Eat, Pray,Stay for Days
Organized by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Reggae Month has a calendar of signature activities for lovers of the genre. The month-long celebration of reggae was launched in 2009. This year sees the return of favourite events like Reggae Open University and Reggae Wednesdays. New additions include Throwback Saturdays, Selecta Fridays and Dub School.
Reggae Month was conceptualized to highlight and celebrate the genre’s global impact and influence. Additionally, the month’s significance is reinforced, because of the birthdays of two reggae legends, Bob Marley (February 6) and Dennis Brown (February 1). It is also Black History Month.
Over the last few years, Reggae Month has unearthed some new talent on the stage. Some of these artists are Chronixx, Jah 9, Kabaka Pyramid and Pentateuch, who are now easily recognized and accomplished artistes in their own right.
Organizers of Reggae Month have charged the government with protecting the musical genre.
Deputy Director of Tourism, Jason Hall, said in a JIS interview, Jamaica risked “losing control and ownership” of the genre, in light of the global appeal it has garnered. He appeals to the powers that be, to collectively take steps to preserve this indigenous musical art form.
“Reggae music has become one of the most listened to forms of music around the world. It provides not only entertainment, but inspiration and upliftment to millions across the globe. To this end, organisations such as JaRIA have a critical and important role to play [in preserving the music]. And, although there is much work to be done, JaRIA must be commended for the work they have done so far. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a nation to preserve and promote a culture. Everyone must come on board,” Mr. Hall said.
Reggae & Tourism
What remains to be seen is the influence of Reggae Month on tourism. UNESCO has designated Kingston as a creative city; however there doesn’t seem to be an influx of cash to market Kingston during Reggae Month. Chairman of the Reggae Month Committee (RMC), Howard McIntosh has emphasised that heightening the discussion on the importance of reggae to Jamaica’s economy will be one of the major objectives during Reggae Month celebrations.
“One of our main objectives is to force a discussion around how important and integral the reggae music industry is to the economy of Jamaica in terms of the contribution to economic growth and economic development and other critical economic factors such as employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
The organization has ambitious long-term plans over the 2018-2024 period. The plan sees the world’s largest reggae trade show and exposition held in Jamaica and developing an internationally recognized and enviable schedule of activities that will ensure pilgrimages to the Reggae Mecca of the world.
For the complete calendar of Reggae Month activities, visit the JaRIA website.
Writer at Eat, Pray, Stay for Days
As an award-winning writer/filmmaker, Diana’s work is driven by her global curiosity and distinctive approach to authentic storytelling.Armed with a Master’s Degree (L.I.U) in Media Arts and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in journalism (York College), Diana has successfully co-mingled this academic knowledge with international independent film experience, travel writing and photography.Visit Website