Winner of ‘Best New Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards 2016, Positive Vibration: Festival of Reggae is back! Celebrating everything from music and food to independent reggae artwork, the Baltic Triangle-based festival exudes the very best in Jamaican and Caribbean cultural heritage.
Set to take place across Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June, the festival will be held throughout the Baltic Triangle with venues including: Constellations, Hangar 34, New Bird Street and District. The festival will combine elements of soundsystem culture, musically-influenced artwork, creative workshops for children and even a Q&A session with some of the biggest names in British reggae!
1- “Reggae Sound System.”
While many of us might think of a “sound system” as anything from our stereo at home to the massive stacks you see hung up at summer festivals; in reggae culture, the term holds a completely different meaning. A “Reggae Sound System” is a collective of different musicians – a group of sorts that often comprises of DJs, producers, engineers and MCs!
2 – “Sound System”
The point where this definition becomes even more confusing is when we start discussing actual acoustic sound systems! A culture that is somewhat obsessed with audio (especially the low end), sub-genres like reggae-dub often require a bottom-heavy audio system, such as the famous ‘Siani Sound System’ to power their music.
Headlining this year’s festival will be two giants of the reggae scene. Topping the bill, South London reggae roots legend, Jah Shaka will be taking us back to the 80s with his highly-acclaimed sound system. Known for drawing huge audiences with his uniquely spiritual messages, Shaka will be performing a very special 5-hour session from midnight on Friday in District. Then on the Saturday, an entirely different form of headliner will take to the stage. Known for their classic 1979 track, ‘On My Radio,’ which reached #8 in the UK charts – iconic two-tone band, The Selecter, will be bringing their full live show to town. Often credited as instrumental in the Ska revival, along with the likes of Madness and The Specials, The Selecter were never ones to shy away from tackling tough social issues the likes of racism, sexism and other social ills – a real tonic for current times it seems!
Also filling up the bill are the likes of Prince Fatty, Soul Jazz Records Sound System and Gilles Peterson’s personal favourites, Reggae Roast. The line-up also includes a very, very rare appearance from the Trojan Records Sound System, as they stop by as part of their first UK tour in forty-years; bringing their own club night to town along with the incredible, Pama International. There are, of course, many more exciting names to be found performing across the weekend, with a real blend of international, national and even local performances taking place across the Baltic Triangle. Make sure you check out the poster below to find out more!
Celebrating all elements of reggae and Caribbean culture, The Art of Reggae Poster Exhibition will look to showcase some of the finest posters, illustrations and artists from across the world. Working in partnership with the International Reggae Poster Contest, the exhibition will be showcasing over 100 posters at Constellations from Wednesday 7th June until the festival’s end on Saturday. To be in with a chance of bidding on these posters, please email email@example.com to register your interest in seeing the exhibition on display! If you chose to come down on the Saturday, why not check out the festival’s creative, educational and dance workshops tailored especially for children. With a ‘Dub Poetry’ workshop being held by Levi Tafari, a Rastaquariam (this one has our interest), a Capoeira class and the return of Square Pegs Festival with an arts & crafts class, it’s certainly one for all ages.
Exploring the deep social and cultural impact of reggae on British society, Saturday will see a live Q&A, hosted by award-winning journalist John Robb, as he chats with the likes of Pauline Black (The Selecter) and Mykaell Riley (Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra.) More than just a musical showcase, Positive Vibration is a festival that strives to encompass and shed light on a genre that often lacks appreciation in the UK, in spite of its tremendous cultural contributions to our daily lives. Touching on this point, organiser Rory Taylor believes that: “Reggae is often overlooked and underrepresented in the UK, particularly in Liverpool, so we are just doing our best to support the cause.” A line-up of artists found seldom elsewhere in the UK and possibly even Europe, this year’s programme stands as a testament to the dedication of the festival to celebrate such an undervalued culture within the North-West. As Rory tells us: “Although there’s not much of a reggae scene in Liverpool nowadays, 30/40 years ago, people in the city would often host shebeens (secret drinking places) and blues dances. These were usually house parties set up by the Irish and Caribbean communities, who were not allowed entry into white clubs. It was at these blues dances in Liverpool and around the UK, where the sound system gained prominence.” A culture like no other, the reggae sound system represents a community-focused way of creating music. DJs, producers, engineers and MCs all make up the DNA of reggae, working together to create something wholly unique as one – if that isn’t a strong message for modern times, then what is?
Fourth Tier Tickets are still available from Skiddle at just £16 per day and £23 for a weekend ticket!
For teenagers (12-17), tickets are just £8 but please not that they must be accompanied by an adult and have left the site by 9pm on both nights. Children under the age of 12 go free but please do acquire one of these free tickets from the Skiddle website!
If you would like to help out at Positive Vibration 2017, some spaces do still remain! To enquire, email firstname.lastname@example.org – You will receive a free ticket, food and drinks.