Born on February 6 1945, Bob Marley would have been blowing out the candles on his 70th birthday cake this Friday.
Sadly that was not to be, having been taken from this realm too soon in 1981. His legacy, however, survives and is arguably more notorious now than when he was alive.
Bob Marley is reggae. He took it from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, and the world embraced it, continuing to do so to this day.
What better way to celebrate the work and style of this musical legend than with a reggae festival right here in Dubai?
Taking place at the XL Beach Club at the Habtoor Grand on Saturday, February 7 Reggae Beachfest will feature dancehall star Mr. Vegas.
We spoke to organiser Adonai to find out more...
What can we expect from the reggae fest?
This ‘Bob Marley Birthday Bash’ is going be very special. Last year we flew in an old school legend Dawn Penn, who performed to a sold-out crowd. This year we have brought MOBO award-winner Mr. Vegas.
How special is it to coincide with Bob Marley’s birthday?
This is very special and we feel honoured to be among the concerts around the world to host this celebration.
Is there a regular reggae scene in Dubai?
The reggae scene here is building slowly. We have seen the growth and we are proud to be part of it.
What made you start the festival?
As a reggae connoisseur and a veteran in the business, having lived in Jamaica for over 12 years and worked with some of the best names in reggae music as a sound engineer and promoter, I saw the hunger and the need in the melting pot that is Dubai. People need to have this culture exposed to them.
Would you like to see more reggae here?
I would love to. In the clubs and also on the radio.
Is it compatible with Dubai as a city?
Reggae is very compatible since people from all over the world live here and reggae is universal. We have witnessed our monthly series for the past year attracting people from different nationalities.
What brought you to Dubai?
I am originally from Kenya, but left for Jamaica at an early age. I came to Dubai for the first time with a dancehall artist on a tour, fell in love with the place and came to establish a reggae business a couple years after.
What is it about reggae you like most?
I like the beat, the lyrics and the energy.
Viva Mr. Vegas
And now for a word with headline act Mr. Vegas, best known for his 1998 Heads High record
How do you feel about coming to perform in Dubai?
It’s a honour to be doing this on Bob Marley’s birthday. Everyone I know wants to go to Dubai. I’m blessed to be able to go and to perform for the people. I plan on giving them all my hits from the past 17 years with crazy energy.
What is the response to reggae around the world?
The whole world was introduced to reggae through Bob Marley. It is a message about love, peace and dance. Bob Marley influenced all reggae artistes. His writing and catchy hooks inspire me.
Do you have the best life in the world?
No, I don’t have the best life…every life is the best. Life is just beautiful.
How is Jamaica as a place to live? What do you love about it and how does it influence your music?
Jamaica is the best place to live: the food is great, beaches, rivers... Jamaican culture inspires my career. There is always something to write about.
Who are the names to look out for in the dancehall and reggae scene in 2015?
Dexta Daps, Latty J and War Lincoln.
How do you think female artists are regarded in the reggae and dancehall genre? Do you think female artists need to give more respect?
It is real difficult for females. People think they can’t be as successful as a male artist. I would love to work with Tessanne Chin. Female artists need to be given more opportunities.
What have you got planned for the near future?
I have a reality show planned, Bruk it Down to Reality. I have my artistes I am working with. I enjoy producing music, so more of that.
Doors atXL open from 2pm to 3am. Advance tickets are available in all Zoom stores, selected Eppco and Enoc gas stations and online at Event Brite and Platinum List for Dhs100. Available for the same price on the door before 7pm. After 7pm - Dhs150. Free entry for ladies before 5pm. Caribbean food will be served all day.
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