Reggae returns to Coney’s boardwalk

Van Pelt, left, and Chanter, right, the owner of the soundsystem Chanter International, The Timeless Sound.

The annual monthly reggae music event, “Reggae on the Boardwalk” returns to Coney Island starting June 3. Every month from June until September — reggae music deejays come to the historic boardwalk to play some tunes honoring the genre’s classics, said the organizer.

“We bring a core group of selectors and deejays, and invite them to play some of these timeless sounds that they own, and it’s a chance for people to hear them,” said Carter Van Pelt.

“I want people to come and hear something that they never heard before, haven’t heard in a long time, or can’t remember if they heard it.”

The once a month shindig will be held on one day during the weekend of every month. Van Pelt says this year on July 7, he is introducing a new segment to the event dedicated to women. After the passing of his friend and selector Lioness Edwards-Chen, he wanted to pay tribute to her by celebrating other women in the reggae music industry.

“She was a big part of the event over the years, so on that day I’m going to have all female selectors,” he said. “It’s going to be the first time that I deliberately brought all female deejays. I think women are underrepresented in reggae and dancehall, so this is kind of my way to pay tribute to them.”

The lineup of deejays playing this year includes, Selekta Twice, Jah Wise from Tipper Tone sounds, Sir Tommy, Culture Cartel with Vaughn Allstar and Joseph Dimension, Chanter International, and Timeless Sound.

He said the free concert attracts many reggae lovers, but also passersby and beach goers. And he says that is how it continues to grow every year.

“The crowd is primarily mature, Jamaican or West Indians who use to go to dances back when reggae first came around and didn’t live in New York at that time,” he said. “So that crowd of people that don’t get to hear the more obscure older tunes anymore, are naturally steered to this because all of the deejays play vinyl.”

Van Pelt said the music concert has fans from all over the country and the world, because the event offers a one of a kind opportunity.

“It’s like no other in event in New York and the beauty of this event is that it does attract a diverse crowd and on top of that — it’s free,” he said. “You won’t find this anywhere else and people from all over the world travel to come here because they love this multigenerational event.”

“Coney Island Reggae on the Boardwalk” at Coney Island Boardwalk [W. 20th Street and Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island]. June 3, July 7, Aug. 5, Sept. 9, 3–7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Selectors Jonny GoFigure and Selekta Twice will be playing reggae tunes at “Coney Island Reggae on the Boardwalk” on June 3.

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