Dancehall's pull on tourists diminishing - Squeeze

March 18, 2017
Japanese sound system Yard Beat performing at Weddy Weddy.
Stone Love's CEO Winston 'Wee Pow' Powell.
Omarie Morgan/Photographer Dj Squeeze

Veteran DJ Squeeze believes tourists are not coming to Jamaica for culture in the numbers they ought to.

According to Squeeze, who celebrates 40 years in music this year, other countries have adopted the Jamaican culture to their own benefit.

He told THE STAR, "Reggae music is now at every corner of the world. So there are pockets of it everywhere, so you can go to Miami and you can find a deep cultural setting. I went to an event in Miami recently... a reggae concert and the production seemed authentic and they didn't have to come to Jamaica. The people inside were 70 per cent white people."

He is therefore recommending that Jamaican culture be merged with the island's beauty. He used Tony Rebel's annual Rebel Salute as the perfect example.

"We have to have authentic events that are geared towards the tourism side of the business and create unique areas like the Grizzly's Plantation. Those are locations that we should enhance under the tourism move. The stadium in Trelawny should be about music and entertainment instead of just sitting there," he said.

But THE STAR recently attended Weddy Weddy Wednesdays, and among the audience were a strong contingent of Japanese and Germans.

Iconic sound system owner Wee Pow said he has never seen a decrease in the attendance of foreigners to the event.

"Tourists on a whole, where the government is concerned, they are seasonal. When time get cold a foreign, a man plan to come to Jamaica, but along the line we the sound system operators always attract people from overseas in and out of season to the dancehall. So the dancehall been playing that role long time," he said, adding that Stone Love has been touring in Europe for many years.

"I have seen no decrease in visits, only increase," he said.

The recent staging of Weddy Weddy also saw a performance from Japanese sound system Yard Beat, whose ability to speak patois amazed patrons, as they played reggae and dancehall selections.


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