It’s International Reggae Day on July 1st. The annual celebration was created in Kingston, Jamaica as a way to honour the music, style and socio-political contributions the genre has gifted us throughout the years. With a current crop of pop and contemporary artists incorporating reggae into their musical repertoire whether it be Ri Ri, Drake, Little Mix or Justin Beiber, we say its high time we give some of the original architects as well as the unsung trailblazers of the genre their due credit and recognition. So we present to you a list of reggae themed events taking place across the capital throughout July which includes concerts, restaurants, reggae karaoke and boat rides to help you catch a vibe!
1. Shabba, Maxi and Friends – 1st July
One of the biggest reggae hits of the ‘90s was the mid-tempo, bass-heavy, R&B tinged groover Housecall by Shabba Ranks, with a little assistance from one of south east London’s finest soul/reggae vocalists, Maxi Priest. The pair come together in what promises to be an explosive night of reggae at its finest. Watch Shabba and Maxi whip the crowd into a frenzy by performing their respective hits at the iconic Wembley Arena on 1st July. For tickets book here.
2. Reggaoke – 1st July & 16th July @ Ritzy, Brixton
Love reggae? Love karaoke? If so, show your love by heading down to the famed Reggaeoke to try your hand at singing one of the many, many reggae hits just waiting to be blessed with your unique vocal interpretation. Whether lovers rock, roots, revival or dancehall is your thing, you’ll have the chance to show your stuff to a receptive audience. For tickets click here.
3. Damian Marley @ Somerset House – 7th July
Damian Marley has admirably carved out a musical path of his own, adding a fresh perspective to the Marley legacy with a musical output that incorporates reggae, roots, dancehall and hip hop. If you have ever seen the youngest Marley son live you will no doubt be familiar with his high-energy, spiritually charged performance style and won’t want to miss out. With support on the decks from David Rodigan, this could potentially be one of the best reggae concerts of the summer. Click here for tickets.
4. Toots and Maytals – Barbican – 28th July
What better way to celebrate International Reggae Month than by seeing Toots and the Maytals live in the flesh? One of the most pioneering groups from the ska and rocksteady era, the reggae vocal group are responsible for some era-defining classics such as Pressure Drop, 54-46 (Was My Number) and Monkey Man. Join the group at the Barbican as they bring the summer spirit with a performance of their classics. For tickets click here.
5. Buster Mantis
With mouth-watering Caribbean staples like jerk chicken, fried festival and curry goat on the menu, a wide selection of cocktails and beers, and a soundtrack of vibesy reggae hits looping in the background, south east London’s hidden gem, Buster Mantis, is the ideal location for a chilled out celebratory drink up. Located in a archway just off Deptford High Street, the intimate family owned contemporary bar will no doubt be cooking up something special in time for International Reggae Day. To book a table visit here.
6. The Trojan Records Official Thames Cruise – 28th July, meeting point: Festival Pier, Southbank
Since its launch in 1968, Trojan Records has continually led the way in presenting the very best in classic Jamaican music, bringing reggae to the masses. As the iconic company gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary, they warm things up by sailing along the Thames, taking in the sights of the city while treating revellers to the very best in ska, rock steady and reggae. For tickets visit here.