COVID won’t stop Reggae Month - Organisers ask public to ‘Come ketch di riddim, virtually’

January 12, 2021
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left) and Culture Minister Olivia  ‘Babsy’ Grange.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left) and Culture Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.

If Sunday's virtual launch of Reggae Month 2021 was anything to go by, organisers of the annual celebration will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that this year's activities will be as impactful as previous years.

Organisers pointed out the obvious, that the global pandemic would mean it's not business as usual. But the show will go on. They invited Jamaicans at home and abroad to 'come ketch di riddim, virtually' as they declared Reggae Month officially launched.

This year will mark the 14th staging of Reggae Month. Culture Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange said that though the huge public gatherings will not happen this year, her ministry wanted to ensure that the challenges of the pandemic did not put a damper on celebrations.

"We can still get together and feel alright, even from a distance. We are not able to have the kind of in-person gatherings on which our music thrives but we are not daunted by the challenges because we are a people of a glorious ancestry," she said. "Reggae music has been a ray of hope that every likkle thing is going to be alright ... in this regard, we want Reggae Month 2021 to signal the start of a process to building back stronger, towards an even brighter and more dynamic future."

Tourism Minister Dr Edmund Bartlett lauded his Cabinet colleague and her team for making sure the festivities continued.

Found innovative ways

"It is unfortunate that over the past 10 months or so, curtailment of the events attracting public audiences has put a damper on the activities of performing artistes. But the entertainment industry remains alive having found innovative ways to entertain their audience," he said. "Thinking about Reggae Month especially in this time of lockdown and other restrictions mandated to stem the spread of the virus, the line of a very popular song, music alone shall live, never to die, readily comes to mind. It was musicians who first came up with the idea of virtually entertaining fans in the hope of helping them cope with the mental stress and strain that had begun to take a toll on them and their families in their homes. In a very positive way, this illustrates the power of music."

The official start of Reggae Month activities is expected to get under way on January 31 with the church service at Fellowship Tabernacle.

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