In one of his popular songs Tony Rebel states: ‘If Jah is standing by my side, then why should I be afraid of the pestilence that crawleth by night.’
That was the mantra of the artiste and show promoter during this past weekend’s staging of his annual concert, Rebel Salute.
The event, which was threatened by heavy downpour before and during the two nights of music, left the venue — Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann — wet, soggy, and some areas covered in a thick layer of mud. But this, the promoter said, added character to this year’s event, and has renewed his confidence to continue the conscious music festival, which celebrated it 25th anniversary.
“First, I just have to give thanks. The lingering energy from this past weekend is so surreal that reflection and projection will have to be on a continuous basis. But I can’t thank my loyal fans enough. Their love for the show has motivated me to continue on this journey. When I saw them staying in the rain, walking in the mud and coming out in their numbers I can’t help but be heartened,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“Jamaican people are in love with good things, and this show, with its clean music and that one-love kind of concept, staged in the birth parish of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey, is definitely loved and has developed a loyal following over the years. There are so many lessons to learn about highlighting the positives here in Jamaica,” he added.
Tony Rebel admitted that the rains did have an impact on scheduling at the event, causing the final night to run way beyond the projected end time. This saw patrons leaving the venue at after 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.
“We definitely lost performance time as equipment had to be protected from the rain, and so we had to halt the show. Our plan wasn’t really for the show to go on as late as it did, but as they say, ‘when man a plan God a wipe out’, so we just give thanks that everything worked out the way it did. However, the vendors were happy and they had the opportunity to serve breakfast, plus the entrepreneurial spirit of Jamaicans came out with sales of ‘reggae shoes’. It happened the way it was supposed to happen and people are still happy,” he noted.
‘Reggae shoes’ were basically black plastic shopping bags, more popularly known as ‘scandal bags’, that were being sold to patrons to protect their feet from mud.
Rebel Salute was also streamed live this year, giving reggae lovers globally the opportunity to share in the event. This, Tony Rebel explained, is part of a marketing strategy to push the event.
“We realised from early that it was important for us to have some empirical data regarding the reach of the festival. While on tour in North America we got a lot of requests from fans for this feature. So we decided to utilise social media effectively to get some figures,” he explained.
“Already we have been getting a lot of feedback and we believe this sets us up nicely for the future. It is our hope that a lot of the persons who this year watched the live feed will want to come to Jamaica in the future to experience not only the cuture, but everything that the country has to offer,” the artiste added.