Rebel With a Cause: Junior Reid Launches New Festival in Bold Response to Reggae Sumfest Snub

Acclaimed reggae maestro, Junior Reid, has voiced his discontent over the repeated omission of certain artists from the annual Reggae Sumfest lineups, arguing that such exclusions rob audiences of the opportunity to savor rich, meaningful music. As a response to this perceived bias, Reid has taken matters into his own hands and is setting up his own music festival.

The curtain was raised on the One Blood Family Fest at a buzzing press conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, last Tuesday (May 16). The veteran singer expressed his disappointment with the Sumfest organizers, emphasizing that despite his illustrious career, he has never been invited to perform at the revered festival held at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay, since it began three decades ago.

Neglecting to showcase artists like him, Reid warns, could lead to the downfall of the genre. “If you keep Junior Reid’s dedicated followers from witnessing his performances, there’s a risk of the music scene collapsing,” he opined.

The singer added, “Without mentors to inspire and guide them, the younger generation of musicians will be at a loss. Initially, I thought I was the only one facing this predicament, but I’ve come to realize that other notable artists are also sidelined. They’re forced to be spectators instead of performers, robbed of the chance to connect with the audience. Thus, I felt compelled to initiate the One Blood Festival, to reinstate unity within our music community.”

The upcoming One Blood Family Fest, aptly christened after Reid’s 1988 smash hit ‘One Blood,’ is slated to take place on June 3 at the picturesque Plantation Cove in St. Ann. The festival has already attracted a star-studded lineup, with the likes of Sister Carol, Sizzla Kalonji, Jahmiel, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Louie Culture, and other notable acts ready to set the stage ablaze.