Rebel Salute 2012 – ‘Magical’!

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Published on January 19, 2012 with No Comments

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Tony Rebel
By: Sandra Edwards-Smith
I have travelled all over the world to attend music festivals, from Musicfest in St Kitts to Best of the Best in Miami to Soca Monarch competitions in Trinidad, Antigua and Barbados just to name a few. I must say the Rebel Salute 2012, held in the Port Kaiser Sports Complex in St Elizabeth, Jamaica is one of the best music festivals I have ever attended. Click thru for more pictures and video of Stephen Marley’s performance!

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With over 20 artists scheduled to appear before the packed music lovers, on January 14-15 the organization and cohesion of this well orchestrated music and cultural festival was immaculate. There is no doubt that a venture of this proportion takes a lot of hard work and was indeed executed like a well oiled machine.

Patrick “Tony Rebel” Barrett initially staged the first Rebel Salute in 1994 to commemorate his January 15 birthday, but this live music festival has morphed into a huge showcase of Jamaican culture through music, food, art and crafts.

Backstage I spoke with Tony Rebel and he stated that his vision was to preserve and uplift reggae music and to showcase Jamaica’s incredible musical legacy. On stage he opened with “Reggae put Jamaica on top”. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand with his many hits and looked like a king in white from head to toe.

The talent, some of whom are reggae icons, reinforced the fact that Reggae is and will continue to be an internationally known genre of music. Tony is continuing the legacy left by Bob and Peter.
Tony Rebel together with Flame Productions and his sponsors put together a magnificent lineup of artists which encompassed favourites for every age group. There were new and upcoming artists such as Jah Dore and Iba Mahr. There were crowd favourites from the 70s and 80s such as Eric Donaldson, Leroy Gibbons, Johnny Osbourne, Max Romeo and Errol Dunkly.
Everyone gave a stellar performance, but honourable mention must be made of Queen Ifrica, who while heavily pregnant commanded the stage and the audience like the Queen that she is.
One of the reasons I wanted to attend Rebel Salute is that I had never been before, but the artist lineup was a reggae music lovers dream, To have Luciano, Capleton, Taurus Riley, Maxi Priest, Mikey Spice, Damian and Stephen Marley plus many others on the same stage was fantastic. Too often music festivals have entertainers whose lyrics are not (in the words of my father) “edfying in the sight of the Lord”. Therefore it was a blessing to my spirit to hear real roots reggae that had a message in the music.
As stated earlier this was a cultural music festival with the park filled with vendors selling arts and crafts and fashion. This was a no alcohol, no meat event. I tried some veggie chicken which was delicious.
Several things stand out in my mind about Rebel Salute 2012. Firstly, at midnight on January 15, as a surprise, Tony Rebel ‘s children released 50 lanterns into the sky to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary and Tony Rebel’s 50th birthday, it was truly magnificent to look up into they sky and see the lights going up up and away into the atmosphere.
Secondly, because I arrived at night I did not know what the surrounding area looked like, at dawn you could see the beautiful mountains in the background with the sun rising and Luciano the Messenjah singing “Sweep Over My Soul”. Magical!!
Thirdly, Capleton ended the show at 8 am, the Prophet always gives a spirited fire blazing performance, the only problem was that some patrons decided to set fire to cardboards. So even though Capleton was burning a musical fire, some people in St Bess wanted real fires.

At a 12 hour reggae fest, one has to pace themselves, I think I did fairly well.

Photo Credit: Lance Watson

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