The End of an Era: San Diego’s 35th Bob Marley Day Comes To An End

The absent of this festival will not only impact the volunteers and its thousands of attendees. It affects a wider industry including the airline, hotels, tourism, transportation, security services, craft and food vendors and the artists.

World Beat Center. Photograph by L Johnson © 2015

World Beat Center. Photograph by L Johnson • All Rights Reserved • Copyright 2015 ©

It’s a male-dominated field and although there have been a few successes such Marcia Griffiths, Lady Saw, Etana, Sister Nancy, Rita Marley, Queen Ifrica and Sister Carol, women in reggae and dancehall have consistently been overshadowed by their male counterparts.

Enter WorldBeat Productions, who in 1987 presented the first ‘Tribute to Women in Reggae’ event in an attempt to honor these influential women in reggae. Twenty-nine years later, little has changed and they are returning with final event titled ‘Tribute to Women in Reggae’ with a hall of fame concert scheduled for this weekend.

“They have worked hard in the business and deserve due respect,” says WorldBeat Production’s Makeda Dread. A veteran in the reggae industry, Dread is known for her annual “Tribute to the Reggae Legends” — formerly known as the “Bob Marley Day Festival”, which she has held in San Diego for 35 years. Now she’s turning her focus to honoring these female reggae legends one last time with a final concert.

The  “Tribute to Women in Reggae” is scheduled to take place on February 13th with a lineup that includes Sister Carol, Lady Dee, Queen Makedah, and LA based Ladee Dred. Saturday’s headliner Sister Nancy will bring down the curtain on the all women reggae acts.

Mighty

Mighty Diamond at the “Tribute to the Reggae Legends” in 2015 at the Balboa Park, San Diego
Photograph by L Johnson • All Rights Reserved • Copyright 2015 ©

Headlining “Lovers Rock” on Valentine Day will be the legendary Frankie Paul who plans to be apart of the final farewell to Makeda’s “Tribute to the Reggae Legends” show. Also schedule to perform at the Center are Wailing Souls, Garth Dennis, The Congo, Willie Williams, Michael Palmer and other reggae veterans.

The grand finale will be on President Day, Feb 15th. The concert will move to the big stage at The Observatory North Park, and features headliner Jamaica’s first Grammy winner Mykal Rose (Black Uhuru 1985), the grand-daddy of dancehall–veteran Daddy Uroy, Ken Boothe, King Yellowman, Pablo Moses, Edi Fitzroy and a debut appearance of No-Maddz, and other heavy weight acts like The Itals, The Meditations, Kush, Layne and 7 Seal Dub.

During the concert weekend Makeda will be giving awards to individuals who worked on the California reggae scene over the years. It includes journalists, promoters, photographers, reggae artists and others reggae personalities in the community. Also a lifetime achievement award will be given to Garth Dennis, former member of Wailing Souls and Black Uhuru.

As Makeda closes out this era, her next task will be working as a museum curator, creating a Hall of Fame at the World Beat Center. She will also be launching an all reggae 100W radio station on the 101.1FM radio frequency. No official date is announced as yet, but according to a source within the WorldBeat Productions camp it will be airing within weeks.

Over its 3.5 decades lifespan the festival has not only entertained music fans and the community, but has also generated an economical benefit to the region. The absent of this festival will not only impact the volunteers and its thousands of attendees but will affect a wider industry. Airline, hotels, tourism, transportation, security services, craft and food vendors and artists who had to be flown in from  Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad or other part of the Caribbean will all be impacted.

This should worth the trip to anyone wanting to be a part of history or wishes to experience a worthwhile reggae and cultural festival.

Leave a Reply