When Reggae died
By Howard McGowan
Standing inside the National Stadium on Boxing Night, 1988, while attending Sting, I was forcefully reminded of the Peter Tosh hit “The Day The Dollar Died.”
Myself and others in attendance were witnesses to the death of reggae music as we had known it. This, as bottles rained on singer dMaxi Priest as he performed. Not because he was performing badly but the throng was impatient, wanting the dancehall stars to come on.
This, ironically, signaled the birth of the bottle throwing culture which has dominated this show since.
Dancehall was about to place it’s vice like grip on Jamaica’s music. And, while thanks to the efforts of people like Tarrus Riley, Jah Cure, Cronnixx and other purists, reggae staged a resurrection in this decade, Dance hall continues its dominance of Jamaica’s music.
However, the foundation was laid with two incidences at Reggae Sunsplash. Firstly, in the early 1980s after a marathon performance by DJ Yellow Man, the hitherto named DJ night on a Thursday was thereafter dubbed Dancehall night.
The second, was when at Dancehall night 1987 inside the then Bob Marley Center, Montego Bay, over 35,000 paying persons were in attendance. This, while oldies and singers nights struggled to pull any meaningful crowds.
Not only was this the biggest turnout in that festival’s history but it was then, the largest for a music event.
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- - qualified & experienced as an Editor in the arts, entertainment and sports, doing reviews and critiques as an active journalist. I worked as the first Entertainment Editor of the Jamaica Gleaner, and also served the Jamaica Observer for over 30 years combined. ... contact me by email here Read more About Howard McGowan
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