By Stacey Marie Robinson
VIBE 105 reggae ambassador, and host of the VIBE DRIVE program, Chris Dubbs was present to take in the long list of performances and interact with the leaders of the reggae music industry at the Rebel Salute Music Festival 2019 in Jamaica.
An annual pilgrimage for Roots Reggae aficionados, Rebel Salute, takes place each January and features a range of Jamaican legends, international musicians, and fans of the genre from around the globe. This year, the event’s 26th staging, took place in the town of Priory, Saint Ann, at the Grizzly Plantation Cove.
Founded by reggae legend Tony Rebel, Rebel Salute is dedicated to preserving the original culture and soul of reggae music, and creating an environment of unity, cultural celebration, and musical joy along the way.
Attendees arrived at The Cove prepared for an abundance of performers and treats, with lawn chairs, tents, blankets, and all the comforts needed to enjoy the marathon festival.
Waving flags, sounding horns, and voices singing along, the attendees, on the first evening, were blessed to take in artists like The Wailers, Capleton, Luciano, Tony Rebel, Wayne Marshall, up-and-coming reggae sensations Koffee, Junior Kelly, Perfect Giddimani, Randy Valentine, and Mykal Rose amongst many others. Toronto-based artiste Tiffanie Malvo and her father, the legendary Anthony Malvo, were also performing, and chatted with hometown comrade Dubbs about the festival’s impact.
The following night, what seemed like an endless stream of reggae greats kept the momentum of the weekend going, with performances from Queen Ifrica, Bushman, Jah Cure, Pantoranking from Nigeria, Agent Sasco, Jesse Royal, Yellow Man, Bounty Killa, Mr. Vegas, Half Pint, and Garnett Silk Junior.
Still keeping an upbeat reggae vibe, the performers ensured that those in attendance (including the Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport Olivia Grange) would leave with messages of political strength, cultural perseverance, and Jamaican pride.
Reggae artiste, and wife of festival founder Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica spoke pointedly about the state of reggae music, the importance of Jamaican’s sticking to their national values, and how she was proudly using her music as a platform for dialogue and influence—albeit with international controversy, at times.
Event host Mutabaruka, a legend in Jamaica’s recording industry and poetry circuit, also had a powerful one-on-one dialogue with Minister Grange about the availability of musical performance venues on the island, with thousands of fans and concert-goers attentively in agreeance with his passionate request.
The best of reggae music, past and present, were on hand to entertain and uplift the Jamaican audience, international guests, and Rebel Salute was a successful celebration of roots reggae music and the individuals who have made it a force around the world.
Minister Grange said: “Tony Rebel succeeded in capturing the best in artistry and consciousness in an unabashed presentation of our Jamaican and African heritage.” Grange continued on to say: “… Presenting the dignity our African ancestry has represented in Rastafari culture, with Africa at the center of our cultural and creative consciousness.”