The line of #MASH UP DA CITY Reggae and Dancehall music festival which takes place in Newtown on March 5, includes some of the best talent in reggae and dance hall in southern Africa.
By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
If there is one music genre that is under represented in festivals in South Africa, even though its footprint is quite visible in the country among discerning music lovers, it is the reggae genre.
One only need to have attended the reggae Nights at Bassline, a concept conseptualised and driven by probably two of its foremost proponents in the country Admiral and Jahseed, to understand the power of this music genre. Reggae and dancehall are music genres that have the power to unite people from different backgrounds as attending the Thursday reggae sessions at Bassline would have confirmed, that is before Covid-19 arrived and disrupted those sessions, which in fact have been running successfully over the years at the venue. In the audience you would find all sorts of reggae and dance hall music lovers, from the old to the young, white and black, international tourists and local diehard fans of this music genre, often travelling from other provinces just for the sessions.
In fact these sessions started at the iconic Tandoor in Yeoville in the 90s, and became so popular that the venue became too small to accommodate the thousands of fans who simply love this genre , forcing Admiral and Jahseed to look for a more spacious venue, and that venue was Bassline.
This raises the question of why local music promoters have not yet discovered the power to unite people that reggae has and its rising popularity in the country and therefore organize a reggae festivals all these years.
I mean at several festivals that take place around the country, Covid-19 allowing, conspicuous by their absence are reggae artists as other genres such as hip hop, amapiano, jazz, gospel, Afro pop and even rock music are well represented, but reggae is not.
However many that have been to a reggae festival or dance hall, the more popular genre in the country right now, will tell you that the audience are some of the most peaceful and there is a spirit of friendship and peace permeating in the crowd, and respect for one another is a norm at reggae events.
It is probably this in mind that a local reggae promotions company Black Blue Production has finally seen the light by putting together a reggae and dance hall festival to take place in Newtown next month. This indeed is sweet news to the ears of the long ignored reggae music fans, who had long been overlooked by music promoters long before the arrival of Covid-19, which put a spanner in the works when it comes to live events.
“One of the main goals is to address the unity that reggae music can bring amongst Africans in South Africa. Blackness Blue Production believes that reggae music is one of the best social cohesion elements that communities have in the world . This annual event aims to be one of the biggest reggae and dancehall music festivals on the continent. The main objective is to host and promote Reggae talent in the country Reggae – artists, reggae Djs and reggae bands (Including instrument players).The Company Identified a profound need for reggae music in the country and beyond, leaving a special kind of market that is not really fueled by supply. The company, with its years of experience in this fraternity engaged in planning an annual event which informs this need and market. Tickets are sold at ticket Pro ,Spar R100(online)for your early birds but R150 at the gate ,R300 VIP,” a statement from the organisers states.
As Blackness Blue Productions presents #MASH UP DA CITY Reggae and Dancehall music festival 2022, there therefore must be a great sense of relief to the reggae loving fans in the country. The festival will take place on March 5,2022 in Newtown’s Carfax , Johannesburg, and all Covid prototals will be followed. The show will kick off from 4pm with local upcoming Djs and gradually moving into the main acts Nutty O(ZIM), Bongo Riot(SA) ,Reign Afrika(SA) , Maffie Gee(SA) ,Dj Fanta (SA), Etherton (ZIMFM), DJ Jun(JPN) to mention a few from this jam packed lineup.