The 20th anniversary of Rebel Salute rocked Jamaica this January in a true showcase of all things roots.
Roots music refers to a style of music that focuses on both the positive and negative truth within a culture, nation, people, etc. Roots reggae combines this narrative with the spiritual side of Rastafari and their journey in life day to day. It is also identified with the life of the ghetto sufferer and the rural poor. Lyrical themes include spirituality and religion, poverty, black pride, social issues, resistance to government and racial oppression.
Tony Rebel, known for his songs ‘Chatty Mouth’ and ‘Fresh Vegetable’, wanted to create a way to bring all that was good about roots to the centre stage. So, in 1994, the same year he started his own record label he held the first Rebel Salute festival in Mandeville, Jamaica and never looked back. The energy and comfort of the atmosphere allowed patrons to feel comfortable expressing themselves and letting loose from societal constraints.
Artists like Queen Ifrica, Fantan Mojah, Turbulence and Iwayne all have graced the stage at Rebel Salute and influenced this new roots reggae culture.
This year, on the 20th anniversary the line up and expectations were so great that they had to split the festival over two days and change the venue. Lifted from its original location in St. Elizabeth was now, and for the foreseeable future, moved to Richmond Estate, Priory, St. Ann. Here in a prime tourism hub it appealed to the country’s tourists and will definitely help to spread the word of the music unto the international arena.