Jamaicans on the island have already shifted into high gear with the staging of the ninth annual Reggae Month celebrations. With one extra day to regale the island’s best-known asset, leap year February promises a month-long array of educational and entertaining programs.
According to Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), organizers of the festivities, this year’s theme will focus on the island’s musical heritage combining the uniqueness of the capital city’s alluring appeal to highlight the festivities.
The theme this year is “Reggae Mekyah,” an affirmation of the birthplace and mecca of the hard-driving musical sound that has permeated the globe through recordings by Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Millie Small, Alton Ellis, Peter Tosh, Marcia Griffith and a myriad of other acclaimed recorders of the genre.
Slated on the Reggae Month 2016’s calendar of activities are: Reggae Open University; the JaRIA honor awards and its signature reggae Wednesdays, which will transform the central gathering landscape in New Kingston known as Mandela Park into a concert center where icons of the genre and rising reggae stars will perform.
Kingston was recently named one of the 47 creative cities in the world.
The announcement coupled with news from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that the Caribbean capital of Kingston is the mecca of reggae music with the month-long attractions will highlight the many cultural aspects of the city and music.
JaRIA organizers said that the emphasis of Reggae Month is “edutainment,” a learning and engaging highlight of the island’s musical history and heritage.
Reggae Month was first staged in 2008 by the Ministry of Culture. The following year, the festival was mandated to Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) as the lead organizing entity of Reggae Month “as a way of fostering unity in the reggae industry.”