Media Launch: Rebel Salute Reggae Festival Returns Live in January 2023

Live from the ROK Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica on the evening of December 21, 2022, legendary Jamaican artist Tony Rebel and his team launched the 29th staging of the Rebel Salute festival, taking place on Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Grizzly's Plantation Cove.

Moderating the evening's launch and connecting with special guests were livestream host Iesha Prendy, and on-stage host Neisha-Yen Jones from TVJ's Daytime Live. Joined by media personnel and music industry supporters, attendees and online viewers were presented with the weekend's features, performers, and related insight.

As expected, the 2023 music festival promises to be yet another impactful "experience of reggae and consciousness and soul," according to media specialist and consultant Carole Beckford.

Along with food and love, music is one of the top 3 reasons why individuals around the globe travel to Jamaica. Rain or shine, Rebel Salute will continue to welcome local and visiting attendees, and highlight the best of Jamaican culture with authenticity and excitement.

The Herb Curb feature will provide an educational and immersive cannabis experience, with the Arts Village and Food Village sharing the best of Jamaican creativity in the kitchen and through crafts and design. Keeping in alignment with the event's roots, there will be no alcohol or meats available on site (with the exception of fish), and all efforts will be made to continue to develop this unified atmosphere of music, culture, and camaraderie.

Since the first Rebel Salute festival in Mandeville in 1994, the event has welcomed over 800 artists to their stages from St. Elizabeth to Priory, St. Ann's, where the festival has now found a home since 2013.

With eager anticipation after two years' live hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2023 artist lineup preview was announced, including (but not limited to):


Third World, Yaksta, Terry Linen, Duane Stephenson, Rytikal, Nation Boss, Kabaka Pyramid, Bling Dawg, Bounty Killa, Lady G, Glen Washington, Big Mountain, Tony Rebel, Pluto Shervington and Ernie Smith, The Abyssinians, Louie Culture, Horace Andy, Papa Michigan, Derajah, Yeza, Falcon, Raphie, Rock Top, Akuba (female band from England)


Stone Bwoy (Ghana), Capleton, Sanchez, I-Wayne, Luciano, T.O.K., Leroy Sibbles, Christopher Ellis, Teejay, Beenie Man, I-Octane, Chessy Deck, George Nooks, Leroy Gibbons, Errol Dunkley, Josey Wales, Johnny Clarke, Imeru Tafari, Davianah, Tanzie, Naki Wailer, Ras-I, Five Star, Azalineage, Echo Minott, Junior Holt, Kevoy Clarke, Brimstone, Naija Boy

Saturday night will also feature a soundclash between The Crocodile from The Nile and Nas The Girl Power.

At the Media Launch, performers complemented the announcements, speakers, and informational segments. Gracing the stage at the ROK Hotel were Yesus, Tanzie (Queen Ifrica's daughter), I-Wayne, Aza Lineage, Leroy Sibbles, Falcon, Kumar of Raging Fyah, and Imeru Tafari (Ifrica's son).

The launch also featured the following special guest speakers, demonstrating support from industries and organizations across Jamaica:

Japp van Dam, general manager of ROK Hotel, spoke about the "revival of Kingston" and highlighting the experience of the downtown culture, where reggae music was birthed.

Peter Mullings, Deputy Director of the Jamaica Tourism Board, reinforced how important live events like Rebel Salute were to promoting Jamaica as a destination, driving traffic to the island year-round.

Shawn Edwards, Director of Sales and Employee Benefits at Sagicor, shared that Rebel Salute plays a significant role in "diversifying and developing Jamaica's culture," in areas of music, art, and cuisine in particular, quoting the late Peter Tosh to reiterate: "Reggae must be lived, not played. It is a lifebeat..."

Patrice Charles, marketing and communications manager at Massy Distribution, the newest sponsor of Rebel Salute, said, "When you think about what reggae music does for is something that we have to honour and celebrate. It's one thing to go away and tour and expose the brand to the world, but it's another thing to execute the show in Jamaica and build the Jamaican ecosystem."

Calvin Allen, the JCF's Assistant Commissioner of Police for Area Two, provided updates to the traffic and overall safety accommodations being made for the weekend, and also praised the event's vibe, stating that: "one of the major positives about Rebel Salute over the past years is the type of atmosphere and people that it attracts and entertains."

The evening's keynote address was provided by Keith Duncan, the past president of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, who spoke about the connections between music and community. Expressing his lifelong love for reggae music, he commended Rebel Salute for sticking to their convictions with resilience, and for promoting "honourable, true, proper values to our Jamaican people, and people all over the world."

Duncan showcased a brief video highlighting Project Star, an organization he co-founded--"a social transformation initiative for Jamaica." Sharing calls to action and inspiring messages, he encouraged community development, commitment to the youth, and outlined the various ways the organization was dedicated to the east downtown Kingston community.

"We stand for upliftment, empowerment, and good clean honest values," said Duncan. In addition to working on skills development through job placements and other opportunities for youth, he said Project Star would also like to connect with the entertainment sector, particularly with the introduction of 'entertainment zones' in designated areas, exploring this as a concept for "social transformation and renewal."

Highlighting a quote from Marcus Garvey, Duncan concluded: "If we as a people realize the greatness from which we came, we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves."

The Honourable Olivia Babsy Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, congratulated Tony Rebel, his family and team, for ensuring Rebel Salute grows. "We have a music that has penetrated all corners of the world," she said. "Rebel Salute showcases not only those who have paved the way, but also the emerging artists providing conscious music."

Minister Grange also revealed a new insurance plan for artists and entertainers, much like a plan recently developed for Jamaican athletes. "This sector has contributed to building Brand Jamaica. Wherever you go in the world, they speak about our music. I felt it was important, as part of our Jamaica 60 legacy, that we ensure we introduce insurance coverage for our artists, writers, and cultural practitioners, to ensure that they benefit from what they have provided to this country in building the Brand."

Tony Rebel's daughter, Kenya Barrett, spoke about the Rebel Salute Foundation, rooted in witnessing her father giving and lending community support over the years. Committed to supporting students, recycling programs, and contributing to a clean Jamaica, she stated that the Foundation is also actively merging Jamaica's music culture with the education system.

Before performing his new song, "Dream Girl," along with a medley of familiar hits, Tony Rebel spoke about the beginnings of Rebel Salute, and the journey to St. Ann's (which has allowed for more cars and more accommodations for visitors). "I want people to understand it's a holistic event, and always brings good artists," said Tony.

Tickets are now on sale, for what is set to be an exciting and cultural night of entertainment and enlightenment. Thanks were expressed to event sponsors: Jamaica Tourist Board, Ministry of Gender, Culture, Cardiff Hotel, Jamaica Hotel, IRIEfm, Bridge 99fm, Irie Jam Radio, RJR, Fame, Hits 92, Knutsford Travel, New Impact Media, Visual Vibes, while a live DJ concluded the Media Launch.

Written by SM Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Reflection & Reason" blog.


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