Here’s a look at five reggae festivals held in five different continents, each with a distinctive accent.
Africa Meets Reggae International World Music Festival / Lagos, Nigeria
Founded by Nigerian reggae artist Victor Essiet to “show the resurgence in reggae by young upcoming African artists and veterans like myself, and Majek Fashek,” the Africa Meets Reggae festival, showcases reggae artists from all over Africa and attracted nearly 20,000 patrons in its previous staging.
Aotearoa One Love Reggae Festival / Tauranga Domain, New Zealand
The One Love Reggae Festival attracts thousands traveling from nearby Australia, Hawaii and The Pacific Islands and throughout Aotearoa (the indigenous Maori people’s name for New Zealand). Bob Marley’s 1979 performance in Auckland was the major catalyst in establishing reggae’s popularity in New Zealand and the One Love Festival lineup this year featured numerous local reggae acts including Kora, House of Shem and Tomorrow People, legendary English reggae band Aswad and Los Angeles’ Common Kings.
California Roots and Arts Festival / California U.S.A.
The largest festival devoted to US reggae, pulling 40,000 patrons over three days, the 2018 lineup is headlined by superstars within the American reggae movement: Rebelution, Tribal Seeds, Iration, Slightly Stoopid, J Boog and The Green.
Cali Roots also includes unique art installations and a live acoustic stage.
Rototom Reggae Sunsplash / Benicassim, Spain
With more than 250,000 people in attendance over 7 days and 3 million viewers watching performances streamed via their Facebook page, Rototom Reggae Sunsplash, is the world’s largest reggae festival.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Rototom features reggae and dancehall acts from Europe, Jamaica and beyond and includes conferences, an African Village, a social art gallery and its own reggae radio station.
Yokohama Reggae Sai / Yokohama, Japan
Yokohama Reggae Sai (sai means festival) was started by the phenomenal Japanese reggae sound system Mighty Crown in 1995, attracting 150 people. In 2006, Mighty Crown took the event to Yokohama Stadium pulling an audience upwards of 35,000, as it does today, with a lineup dominated by Japanese reggae and dancehall acts.
Also read "Reggae Music To the World: How One Little Island's 'Big Big Music' Created A Global Culture" by Patricia Meschino