Bob Marley and the Wailers perform at Reggae Sunsplash Festival on July 9, 1979 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Jamaica’s Reggae Sunsplash, the groundbreaking music festival that established the blueprint for reggae festivals around the world, will return in November 2020, following a 14-year absence. The revived Reggae Sunsplash will be held at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, Priory, St. Ann, a spacious outdoor venue located near Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s north coast.
Founded by Synergy Productions, the inaugural Reggae Sunsplash took place June 23-28, 1978 in the island’s resort capital of Montego Bay and featured six nights of dusk-til-dawn concerts showcasing several of Jamaica’s finest reggae acts, including Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller and Inner Circle, Third World and Toots and the Maytals. Sunsplash was held each summer between 1978 and 1992 in Montego Bay — except for 1980, when it was held in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston — utilizing football field Jarrett Park and the Bob Marley Entertainment Center as its venues. The festival moved around the island between 1993 and 1996, with one-offs in 1998 and 2006.
But now, the festival is returning under new ownership. Guardsman Group Ltd., one of Jamaica’s largest security companies, purchased the event and licensed the rights to Kingston-based holding company eMedia Interactive Group Ltd., in which Guardsman owns a 35% interest. Reggae Sunsplash will be produced through eMedia subsidiary Vertical Creative Ltd.