January 16, 2023
Organiser of the annual Rebel Salute, Tony Rebel, says the event provides economic benefits to not only the man in the street but also tourism, Jamaica’s largest earner of foreign exchange.
The two-day festival, first held in 1994 to celebrate Rebel’s birthday, is scheduled for January 20-21 at Plantation Cove, St Ann. It returns after a two-year break due to Covid-19.
“I feel proud to know that I can have an event that contributes to the GDP [gross domestic product] of Jamaica. I see busmen, taxi men, the hairdressers reaching out to me asking if Rebel Salute is keeping. Even persons from the hotels have been reaching out, even though we could do with more hotel rooms. The hotels are full because people are coming for the event. The Airbnb’s are also benefiting from the event,” Rebel disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Originally staged at Fayors Entertainment Centre in Mandeville, Rebel Salute moved to Brooks Park (also in Manchester) before going to Kaiser Sports Club in St Elizabeth.
Since 2013, Rebel Salute has settled in Priory, St Ann, in the heart of tourism country. It attracts visitors from leading reggae markets in Europe, North America, and Japan as well as booking agents and a variety of vendors.
Rebel, who is known for hit songs such as Jah By My Side, Fresh Vegetable, Armour, Chatty Chatty, Nazarene Vow, Sweet Jamaica, and Just Friends, said the show expanded to two days due to overwhelming requests from patrons and performers.
“When we went to St Elizabeth, the artiste line-up started to grow. I use my emotions when it comes to selecting artistes for the show. When we finished, we did a survey, and 100 per cent of whom we spoke to said we should keep it over two days. We moved to St Ann where we had more parking facilities, more hotel rooms, and even camping facilities,” said Rebel.
This year’s line-up of performers is impressive. Friday night (January 20) will see Nation Boss, Rodney Price (aka Bounty Killer), Bling Dawg, Rytikal, Lady G, Heavyweight Rockaz, Pluto Shervington, Big Mountain, Louie Culture, Kabaka Pyramid, Papa Michigan, Horace Andy, Glen Washington, Duane Stephenson, Tony Rebel, and Dennis Walks, among others.
Saturday’s line-up reads Johnny Clarke, Errol Dunkley, Capleton, Leroy Gibbons, Josey Wales, Echo Minott, Kumar Fyah, Moses Davis (aka Beenie Man), I Wayne, I-Octane, Leroy Sibbles, Chezidek, Sanchez, Stonebwoy, Luciano, and Timoy Jones (aka Teejay).
Said Rebel, “At this year’s event you can expect what is always expected: A wide array of edutainment to satisfy your musical needs. We’ll have the indigenous Jamaican products and artwork on sale, the Herb Curb to sensitise persons about the therapeutic, medicinal, and economical side of the herb [ganja] and we have a great show line-up.”
Tony Rebel was one of the artistes who helped transform dancehall music from “slackness” to consciousness in the 1990s. As he did then, he hopes to leave a legacy with his show.
“Something that people can look up to is that Rebel Salute could be done without slackness, vulgarity, alcohol, nor meat. I would love for Rebel Salute to continue for generations, and that’s why I have brought in my children to help with the organisation of the event.”
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