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Joint Press Release From Jamaica Arts Holdings, producer of International Reggae Day (IRD) worldwide, and Music Congress, IRD UK sub-licensor



JulyOne is International Reggae Day (IRD) and this year marks 25 years since its premiere in Kingston, Jamaica in 1994. Produced annually by Jamaica Arts Holdings, IRD is the first of its kind, annual 24-hour global media celebration of the best of Jamaica’s music and culture. The power of Reggae music and Jamaica’s lifestyle music, continues to influence global culture in terms of its distinct sounds, fashion, style, dance and language.  The world has embraced the Sounds of Jamaica and regularly welcome many Jamaican artistes, musicians and dancers who tour spreading Reggae’s ‘One Love’ message.

A strategic brand marketing initiative, IRD has for the past 25 years, highlighted Kingston as the home of Jamaican music and showcased the best of Jamaica’s creativity.  From music to dance, visual arts to fashion, now known collectively, as the creative industries, IRD showcased established and emerging talent while honouring those who have contributed to the music’s growth and internationalization.  

On November 29, 2018, Reggae music, the uniquely Jamaican creation, was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.   When UNESCO announced that “the Reggae music of Jamaica” had been added to its list of cultural products considered worthy of recognition, it was a reflection on the fact that Reggae, which grew from its roots in the backstreets and dance halls of Jamaica empowered by Rastafari, is more than just popular music, but an important social and political phenomenon.

As International Reggae Day turns the corner on its 26th year, the brand continues to celebrate the impact of Jamaica's creativity on the world.  This year International Reggae Day Salutes Reggae Sunsplash and its originators as trailblazers, for establishing Reggae’s most important live music platform, responsible for introducing the world to Reggae culture and many of the music's brightest stars.   Reggae Sunsplash has served as the blueprint for Reggae festivals worldwide, having set the standard by which all Reggae festivals are measured.   The authentic ambiance created and the calibre of performances presented by the festival which began in 1978, was responsible for re-opening Montego Bay for summer business and created a brand legacy which retains its global appeal to this day.   

This year marks 40 years since Bob Marley performed at Reggae Sunsplash, sharing the stage with Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and Third World, later released as ‘Reggae By Bus’, one of the music’s first concert documentaries.  Reggae Sunsplash was responsible for the launch and promotion of many of Jamaica’s most popular artistes and the level of live production and concert film footage captured, was groundbreaking for the music’s marketing potential and fostered the development of many young Jamaican production professionals including John Swaby, Richard Forbes (Phase 3) and Johann Dawes (HYPE TV).

Showcasing Jamaican music culture from its roots to its branches, IRD invites participating media worldwide, to showcase talented artistes and producers from Jamaica as well as generations of creative offspring around the world inspired by Jamaica.   JulyOne broadcast specials, themed playlists and featured interviews will be presented by participating media from Kingston to London.   The 24-hour IRD media festival will be complimented on social media by #ThisIsMyReggae posts, Reggae 360X retail specials and a network of endorsed events including Alliance Francaise Jamaique’s Fete de la Musique concert at 22 Jerk Plus in Kingston on JulyOne.  For fans showing their love for Reggae culture by wearing red gold and green colours on JulyOne, discount specials will be available from a number of popular Jamaican brands from high end Bridget Sandals to popular street food spot Norma’s on Whitehall Avenue.

In partnership with a UK stakeholders group established in 2017 and chaired by the British Black Music/Black Music Congress, International Reggae Day is nurturing seeds planted to establish a sustainable summer Reggae festival in London.  The collective has established a consistent menu of activities for IRD in the UK including conferences, talks, exhibits, parties, screenings, awards, performances and tree plantings in keeping with the IRD brand standard.   IRD London spearheaded by Music Congress (BBM/BMC), is coordinating official hub events in the UK along with partners, Reggae Fraternity UK, Goldsmiths, University of London and Campro Entertainment. 

IRD London 2019 celebrations are sponsored by Trojan Records, VP Records and will include:

Satellite Event - Catch A Fire (June 30)Reggae Conference - Two days @ Goldsmiths, University of London (June 30-JulyOne)Reggae and Mental Health & Wellbeing Reggae’s Influence on British R&B/Soul Q&AReggae in the Academy – Reggae Research PresentationsTalking Copyright, IP and Protecting ReggaeScreening - Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan RecordsSalute - VP @ 40 YearsExhibit – Photos by Sharon DouglasPerformances – sound system guestsVeterans Talks-Anthony Brightly|Chips Richards|Ronald Amanze|Mark AnthonyIRD London Awards – Hawkeye | Popsy/Starlight | Steel Pulse | Aswad | Osibisa | Incognito Reggae Tree – Unveiling of IRD Reggae Tree Plaque on Harlesden High Street

For fans around the world, JulyOne is a rallying cry.  All are invited to show their colours, play their favourite Reggae music, use #ThisIsMyReggae in posts on JulyOne to join the 1Love movement hosted by Jamaica and plant a tree for IRD.   Official events promote 1Love and all performances and audio visual content played or broadcast, must be devoid of racist, sexist, misogynistic, violence, foul language or imagery.

For more information and interview requests, please contact –

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