Still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irene, New York City is now preparing for another uproar this coming weekend, when Reggae and Rhythm & Blues fans flood Roy Wilkins Park in Queens for the 1st Annual Reggae Rhythm & Blues Festival on September 4th. The already power-packed lineup is now facing the triple threat of Reggae legends John Holt and Leroy Sibbles, and Rootsy Dancehall star I-Octane, who will be storming the stage alongside some of the biggest names in music.
Joining the ranks of ten-time Grammy award winner Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, acclaimed Rhythm & Blues siren Monica, Dancehall superstar Mavado, Soca King Machel Montano, and Roots Reggae champion Tarrus Riley, I-Octane, John Holt, and Leroy Sibbles will be part of one of the biggest celebrations of Caribbean-American music this Labor Day weekend. Scheduled a day before the City’s massive West-Indian American Day Carnival Parade, the Reggae Rhythm & Blues Festival will be a featured attraction for the tens of thousands of revelers from around the world that pour into the City for the annual Carnival festivities.
I-Octane, one of Dancehall’s most promising new talents, visited New York earlier this year on the North American leg of his successful My Life Tour, which also took him to Europe and Asia. His singles “My Life,” and “Lose A Friend,” have hit Reggae music charts around the world, and landed him a spread in the April/May issue of Vibe Magazine and an album feature in the New York Times.
Reggae legend John Holt has enjoyed a 48-year career as one of Jamaica’s most beloved singers. Known for hits like “A Love I Can Feel,” “Wear You to the Ball” and “The Tide is High,” which was covered by iconic punk band Blondie, Holt has released over 35 albums, since 1970.
Leroy Sibbles has been described as the “greatest all-around talent in reggae history” by Reggae Routes authors Kevin O’Brien Chang and Wayne Chen.The former lead singer of the legendary band The Heptones, Sibbles was also a songwriter and bassist for Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd’s Studio One label, working with Reggae’s biggest names including Alton Ellis, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown and Jackie Mitoo. As a solo artist, he’s released eight albums, the latest one, Reggae Hits Bass Lines, in 2009.
“Reggae Rhythm & Blues is turning out to be bigger than we predicted; the addition of I-Octane, Leroy Sibbles, and John Holt promises that this show will be nothing short of amazing,” says festival organizer Robert ‘Bobby’ Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Media. “We have a line-up that includes top of the top names in Reggae, Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Dancehall, and Soca – ranging from classic to contemporary. I know this is something that music lovers of all cultures and ages will enjoy.”
Reggae Rhythm & Blues is a day-long celebration of New York City’s melting pot of sound, held the day before the City’s annual West-Indian American Day Carnival. The festival, featuring Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Monica, Mavado, I-Octane¸ Tarrus Riley, Machel Montano, John Holt, and Leroy Sibbles, and a special guest appearance by Beenie Man, kicks off on Sunday, September 4th at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica, NY.