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Vintage best

Ricky Jordan

Vintage best

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DESCRIBED BY A top Jamaican musician as one of the biggest reggae events in the world, the 10th annual Digicel Reggae Festival is being seen as a launch pad to take local artistes on to the international recording scene.
In the presence of veteran star John Holt, drummer and lead vocalist Grub Cooper who has been part of the festival’s Fab 5 backing band for eight of its ten years performing here, said: “This show is really fantastic. It’s one of the top reggae shows in the world. Actually I would venture to say that the whole package is wonderful, excellent.”
Cooper, a veteran of Reggae Sunsplash, Sumfest and other shows, was speaking at yesterday’s press briefing organised by FAS Entertainment at Kensington Oval, and singled out FAS’ Freddie Hill as the man who had done the early groundwork for the festival which had grown from a fledgling event into a week-long festival and tourist attraction.
Hill’s partner Al Gilkes emphasised the importance of having Barbadian acts alongside the experienced international acts like Holt, Fab 5, and Beres Hammond who had graced the festival’s stage.
“It’s not just getting on a stage and singing.
The local artistes get to interact with the Jamaicans backstage, they ask questions, they’re given tips in terms of movement, voice moderation and so on . . . .It’s a learning experience for them,” he told journalists.
“We’ve seen over the years that quite a number of the local guys and girls have matured into world class performers. Unfortunately the Barbados name is not out there beyond our shores as a reggae country but some day, once the likes of Buggy Nakhente, Simon Pipe and a few others who have made it beyond our shores, are established, we know that the gates will open and Barbadian artistes will be joining their fellow Jamaican stars in making this music even greater across the globe,” Gilkes added.
Tonight’s Vintage Reggae “show and dance” at Kensington is expected to pack the venue based on ticket sales, Gilkes added, noting it would be extended from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Headliners Frankie Paul and Sanchez were due in last night from Gambia and Atlanta respectively, to join Admiral Bailey, Holt  and Fab 5.
“Over the years the promoters have done a very good job in putting it together. It’s not an easy road but they make it easy,” said Holt, who has created hits over the last 51 years that have been covered by the likes of Dennis Brown and UB40.
The festival continues with the all-Bajan night featuring 20 acts at the Reggae Lounge tomorrow at 9 p.m., and climaxes with Reggae On The Hill featuring Beres Hammond, Jah Cure, Tessanne Chin and others at Farley Hill National Park.
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