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Celebrate International Reggae Day with these London events

CELEBRATION: Group photo IRD 2018 at Institute Of Education (Photo credit: Des Chisholm)

MARK INTERNATIONAL Reggae Day taking plcae on June 30 and July 1 with events taking place across London.

One of the events will take place June 30 at Goldsmiths, University of London in New Cross, and on July 1 in the north London borough of Brent.

IRD, which was started by Jamaica Arts Holdings Ltd 25 years ago, is an annual global celebration of reggae music on July 1. It's co-ordinated in the UK by BritishBlackMusic.com/Black Music Congress (BBM/BMC) in association with Reggae Fraternity UK, with this year's being the third and the biggest.

The conference at Goldsmiths starts at noon with an exclusive, free screening of Rudeboy: The Story Of Trojan Records, which tells the story of Britain's contribution to the development of reggae, and ends with a sound system and artist performance.

The main theme is 'Reggae's Influence On British R&B/Soul', which will be explored through videos and contributions by acts including soul singer Noel McKoy and R&B/reggae groups Simplicity and Cool Notes. Black Slate leader Anthony Blightly is one of the featured veteran guest speakers.

The sub-theme is 'Reggae And Mental Health & Wellbeing', which will be led by Harrow Mencap, and music industry organisations Performing Right Society (PRS) and Musicians' Union.

There will be a video slide show of Kenny Passley Women In Reggae photographs, whilst Talking Copyright, Intellectual Property & Protecting Reggae, explores the legal and economic implications of UNESCO's recent addition of reggae unto its Cultural Heritage List. This includes a contribution by Dr Enrico Bonadio of City University of London Law School and Dr Marcus Goffe of Jamaica Intellectual Property Office.

In Brent, which will mark its London Borough Of Culture in 2020 status with a strong programme of reggae events, a plaque will be unveiled by the Reggae Tree planted last year in front of the Hawkeye record shop in Harlesden.

This will be followed by a conference nearby Tavistock Hall, featuring veterans from retailing, management, community radio, and labels, who helped establish Brent as the key location for the reggae business in the UK.

The owners of Hawkeye and the nearby Starlight record shop will receive IRD awards for their contribution to reggae in Britain. BBM/BMC will also be making an award to acts for their longevity in the music business. Singer-songwriter Winston Francis will be one of the artists lending support the night.

Ahead of IRD, this year's British Black Music Month, which is also organised by BBM/BMC, has two reggae-themed events. Windrush, Migration & Reggae takes place on June 17 at Conway Hall in Holborn.

The chair of the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) board of trustees Dawn Hill will be receiving an award on behalf of BCA an IRD award to the Windrush Generation, for their contribution to Britain's cultural landscape.

BBM/BMC founder and history consultant Kwaku will also be presenting The Windrush Papers on June 19 at 62 Fieldgate Steet in Whitechapel, and chairing the Talking Copyright: Exploring UNESCO Protection' Of Reggae seminar, which takes place at City, University Of London on June 26.

Satellite events include the monthly Catch A Fire club night at the Ritzy in Brixton, which will mark IRD on July 7.

“Whilst we are keen to have licensed IRD UK events especially outside London, we are happy to slowly build the concept here,” says Kwaku. “This year, we've got music industry organisations such as the PRS, Musicians' Union, Trojan and VP Records, Goldsmiths, Sound System Outernational, several community radio stations, including Chaaawaaa Radio, and The Voice on board.

"We are open to working with all sectors of the reggae industry, and hope to develop IRD into the number one reggae knowledge-sharing and networking opportunity in the UK,” adds Kwaku.

For more information, visit: www.IRDUK.co.uk

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