As Jamaica’s premier summer reggae festival, Reggae Sumfest, culminated in the island’s tourist capital, Montego Bay, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) said its booth provided “the perfect vantage point to observe the stellar performances and a wonderful ambience for those looking to bask in the essence of Jamaican culture.”
Among the guests visiting the JTB booth was noted reggae and Bob Marley historian Roger Steffens.
JTB said Steffens, a first time festival attendee, was on hand promoting his latest book, “So Much Things To Say,” which weaves decades of interviews with friends, business managers, relatives and confidants into a definitive telling of the life of the reggae king.
JTB said the book provides “the full, inside account of how a boy from the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, became a cultural icon and inspiration to millions around the world.”
JTB said Steffens is one of the world’s leading Bob Marley experts, stating that he toured with the Wailers in the 1970s and was closely acquainted with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and the rest of the band members.
“This actor, author, lecturer, reggae archivist, director and producer, has, over the past four decades, evolved from photographer into the world’s premier reggae archivist,” JTB said.
It said Steffens’s “obsession with reggae music” began in 1973, “when he happened across an article in a Rolling Stone magazine that spoke of reggae.”
A few years later, JTB said Steffens went to Jamaica with his wife looking for vinyl records.
“Little did he know that this would have been the beginning of his extensive collection, which now occupies seven rooms of his Los Angeles home and is the world’s largest collection of Bob Marley material,” JTB said.
Jamaica’s Director of Tourism Donovan White described Steffens as “a walking encyclopedia on reggae and Bob Marley.”
“We need to find a way to get into his mind and record all that information,” he said.
Having presented about reggae at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and nine times at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Steffens told JTB that he only has one wish: To have his collection established at the Jamaica Music Museum.
He believes that it is “its rightful home,” JTB said.
“Though reggae is truly unique to Jamaica, what has kept me coming back to Jamaica and my absolute favorite thing about this island is the friendliness and mutual respect among all races here,” Steffens said.