Reggae On The River cancelled


Reggae On The River cancelled

Observer writer

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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For the second time since its inception, Reggae On The River has been cancelled.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, “Reggae On The River, the troubled Humboldt County reggae festival along the Eel River presented by High Times this year, has been cancelled, organisers announced via the event's website this week.”

“Refunds will be issued to all ticket holders within 10 business days,” the statement continued.

Reggae On The River had been scheduled for August 2-4 at French's Camp in Garberville, California, with Damian “Jr Gong” Marley and Toots and The Maytals headlining.

Organisers are yet to release a statement behind the cancellation.

There was considerable controversy surrounding this year's festival, as approximately three weeks ago it was announced that Sizzla Kalonji was booted from the line-up due to his use of homophobic slurs. Interestingly, he was the headliner for the 2016 staging.

Twelve years ago, Sizzla (given name Miguel Collins) was among several artistes who signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, which rejected homophobia and made a pact to drop homophobic lyrics from their songs.

However, during a 2015 interview prior to his appearance at Rebel Salute, he described homosexuality as “sodomy” and “corruption”.

Gay rights activists such as Todd Larsen was pleased with the organisers' decision to drop Sizzla, saying, “It's good that they listened to community feedback and took action.”

The show's first cancellation occurred in 2007, in wake of a legal battle between the Mateel Community Centre, People Productions (the company started by founder Carol Bruno after leaving her position with Mateel), and Tom Dimmick, owner of the property which hosted the festival in 2006.

Bruno died in February.

Reggae On The River dates back to 1984 as a benefit event for Mateel Community Centre, a non-profit organisation from Humboldt County in northern California. It was held after arsonists burnt the community hall in Garberville.

Over the years, Reggae On The River featured numerous top acts including Third World, Beres Hammond, Israel Vibration, Anthony B and the Marley Brothers.

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