Island Beats Magazine for the first time in all its history of operations had the honor to attend and cover Spain’s Rototom Sunsplash this 2018.
DJ Bubbles of Island Beats set out on the reggae musical journey to Barcelona, Spain to take in the biggest reggae festival in Europe.
The moment we touched down in Spain it was love at first sight with the scenic view of the mountains and the palm trees and the hot sun that added more light to the festival.
Six days celebrating reggae music from all aspects from roots and culture, lovers rock, dance hall and even a display of African music and culture.
We are pleased to bring you for a walk through the Rototom Sunsplash and we want you to close your eyes as we bring on the Island Beats voyage to Spain from Barcelona to Benicassim where the infamous Rototom Sunsplash took place.
Please sit back grab your boarding pass destination is Benicassim, Spain.
The most pivotal part of any entity in the world is the front line the cliche says “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Our very first mode of contact with Rototom Sunsplash was with Katia Brollo aka Sista Kappa who approved Island Beats media accreditation to attend the festival as a media outlet. Katia was very kind in advising us the distance of the festival from Barcelona and also explain exactly in Spain we needed to be.
Second came Sylia Amrarene who advised where we needed to be situated and also provided consolation that everything would be okay and provided her personal cell phone number to contact in case we needed assistance in the planning of our trip.
During the last few moments before our departure from Canada to Spain we met Chiara who assisted in connecting media to artists for interviews who right from the start made you feel right at home.
It was a pleasure and a feeling of warmth and anticipation to be kept well informed not only a professional level however on an inpersonal level as well.
With this warm reception Island Beats could not wait to attend the Rototom Sunsplash.
After the 3 hour bus ride from Barcelona Island Beats arrived at the Rototom Glamping (camping) site and that experience was just like attending summer camp old friends meeting and greeting and new campers making friends along the way. The central meeting point inside the Rototom camp grounds was at the bar and restaurant which is where most of the campers went not only to eat however as a place for shade from the hot sun.
Reggae music played from the speakers day and night which was not a bother to anyone everyone enjoyed the music and the food as well.
The bar and restaurant was where quite often the campers would converse at the tables and make new friends and share stories of their countries of origin.
Next door to the bar and restaurant the campers could prepare their own meals which was like the family dining area.
In addition the campers could use the phone charging kiosk there were two options either to rent the portable charger or to leave your phone where it was kept safe while on charge.
After the first few days faces became familiar and campers greeted campers on a first name basis numbers and contacts were exchanged as attachments and bonds were formed.
There was one common ground the campers had up the hill so close to the Benicassim mountains and that was the love and passion for reggae music.
Whether one spoke English, French, Spanish reggae music was the universal language in which everyone understood the reggae music in combination with love.
By the last day of the festival emotions ran high as friendships formed during the six days of the festivals.
The next morning which was day one of the Rototom Sunsplash the festival grounds were ready and just undergoing the finishing touches. Vendor tents were up and ready to dazzle the festival attendees with so many crafts, and different kinds of food from Spanish to African to Caribbean to North American food you name it. Not to mention the mouth watering pastries and drinks available in authentic Rototom cups.
Island Beats was able to tour the festival grounds and was first able to see the Lion stage which was very close to the entrance of the festival. In addition we were able to sample some of the freshly baked pastries from the Sweet Marel pastry tent tucked neatly into a corner on the festival grounds however difficult to miss and resist the sweet smells coming from the tent.
As Island Beats proceeded in awe passing the dance hall pavillion and surveying the many different food and tents that had Rototom, African, and, Caribbean apparel for display we were headed for the Reggae University which was where the media room was situated.
This was where Island Beats DJ Bubbles met the beautiful inside and outside Gege from Gege Vibes in Italy.
Island Beats was able to interview Gege from Gege vibes which is a digital magazine as well covering various reggae events and artist interview within the reggae industry on an international platform.
There was in addition to the media room where media could charge up their devices and write daily reports a media pit with a bar and comfortable seating for media personel to mingle and also the main base where everyone with media access could meet and also greet.
It was a comfort zone for many of us on the media team. Island Beats was also able to meet in person Chiara, Katia, and, Sylia and meet Rototom media team member Java as well a wonderful and helpful soul.
Day one of the festival was only a warm up of what was to come for the remainding five days. By this time travelers who did not make the first day arrived the festival grounds was buzzing with activity from the African pavillion to the yoga area where all were welcome to participate in relaxing exercises for the mind and the body.
At the reggae university we were able to watch a very informative video featuring Gussie Clarke who gave us a history of dub and also took down memory lane on how the word dance hall was derived and the difference between the dance hall being a place rather than a genre.
Island Beats was able to interview where he told us about the creation of EPX which is a ten or more multi genre remix of the same song by the same artist released simultaneously which has never happened anywhere in the world.
Gussie was actually invited to premiere the dub wise video at the reggae university which is now available on youtube.
After our interview with Gussie Clarke we were able to speak with Professor Donna Hope from the University of The West Indies as well whose endeavor is to preserve the history of dance hall and also trying to put some innovation and preservation into Jamaica's dance hall culture making sure that the information will not be lost.
Professor Hope during a short interview informed Island Beats that the initiative was launched in April 2018 and the ultimate goal is add some value to the dance hall.
Island Beats was also able to interview up close and personal with Koffee the young proteje from Jamaica who shared with us the genesis of her storm into the reggae music industry. Koffee was pleasant to speak with as she had a bubbly personality and was very down to earth it was quite easy to speak with Koffee.
Koffee shared that she started in the music at the tender age of 17 when she met her manager at Arden High School who at the time was her music teacher. Due to the fact that she was in the choir her manager decided that he wanted to further push Koffee based on her talent.
Koffee let us know how thankful and greatful she was to be on the Rototom roster and gave thanks to God as she never imagined that her talent would take all the way to Spain on the largest reggae festival in Europe.
Koffee also shared that outside of music she enjoyed sport activities.
We asked Koffee what her ultimate goal was career wise in which she responded that there was no ultimate goal that music to her was a continuous journey to spread positivity and good vibes through the music.
Koffee also sent a message to the youth’s she mentioned she believed in the art of music and the importance of the messages conveyed she advised that the youth’s should listen and in her own words she says there is a deeper realm and that trusting in God in combination with soul seeking was vital to remaining focused and motivated.
Koffee was excited to share with the massive that she had an EP containing five tracks that would be released in September called “Throne” with a self titled track on the EP.
It was nice to also meet Koffi’s team her mother, her admin Tamara, and her manager Kadesha. Koffi was a joy both on and off stage.
The second act on day two was from musical legends Sly & Robbie who dazzled the crowd on the main stage with their instrumental performance with heavy drum and bass taking us back in time with the riddims that we rocked to back in the days while you hummed along the words to the songs backed by these riddims. The was geared up and amped and ready to welcome King Yellowman whose stage performance and lyrics kept the crowd cheering and clamoring for more.
It was an honor to interview with King Yellowman afterwards back stage who shared that it was the people that kept him grounded in the music industry he was a gentle soul and a pleasure to speak with.
Not to mention Bitty Mclean who crooned those love songs and many women swooning to the rock steady beat and his angelic voice.
By the time the legend Jimmy Cliff came on the crowd was hypnotized especially when he began his performance beating the drums as we all sang along to ‘By The Rivers Of Babylon.” Jimmy Cliff brought many tears to the eyes in the audience especially when he sang his infamous track many rivers to cross and the harder they come as it was like a musical voyage back into time.
Many were also just as excited to see Jimmy Osbourne perform with his unique style and voice.
Groundation who was the first performance on the main stage that night was equally as dynamic and set off a trend that night for day two of the festival.
By this time during the Rototom Sunsplash the excitement and the festivities were at its highest peak although there were still four more days remaining to enjoy the massive musical vibrations of the festival.
Day four of the festival Andrew Tosh the son of Jamaica’s late great Peter Tosh delivered an unforgettable tribute to his father singing songs such as He Never Die, Fighting Until Africans Are Free, and, one of his father’s top tracks Equal Rights & Justice.
During his performance you can see how proud he was to stand in his father’s place on the stage and sing his father’s legacy.
After his performance Andrew Tosh was a delight to his fans and media as he literally mingled with everyone and also was happy for a copy of Island Beats Magazine.
Kabaka Pyramid also created a musical inferno and had the crowd hungry for more of his music both during and after his performance. We also enjoyed hearing him speak during the press conference he did inside the reggae university. Kabaka spoke passionately about his love for reggae music and spoke of his new album release as well a very informative press conference.
Island Beats was most honored to see live and in person one of the greatest selectors of all times David Rodigan and the Outlook Orchestra he also called Bitty Mclean on the stage to perform and afterwards it was a dream come true to take a photo with Mr. Rodigan a musical genius.
Once again another musical session inside Rototom Sunsplash sent the massive home amplified from the music and the excitement of seeing legend after legend perform songs of all times.
As well Island Beats spoke backstage with ZJ Liquid who updated us that he was still playing good music on the radio in Jamaica and also pursuing his production endeavors.
We also interviewed with Young Royalty from the UK and the founder Cyrlene of the Britians Got Reggae who explained the initiative of Britians Got Reggae which is to keep reggae alive in the communities and also for the youth’s to expose their talent and keep connected to their roots.
The irony of meeting with Young Royalty is that before our meeting s that Island Beats spoke with Young Royalty through social networks.
We also spoke n depth with the Emitarians a musical group who also taught the massive how to use their vocals and harmonize an activity that was well received at the reggae university. We spoke with Fel who provided us with a lovely interview.
The final night of the Rototom Sunsplash was a bitter sweet vibe for the camp portion its like the last day of summer camp when you know that it may be a while before you see friends that you have made and bonds that were made during the time you spent together. Island Beats can definitely say that we really made lot’s of friends from near and far both in the media circle and outside of the media circle it was truly an experience like no other.
The final performances for the night began with the Mighty Diamonds who shook the earth with songs from back in the day such as “Have Mercy.”
The performance from Konshens was second to none the crowd multiplied in front of the main stage to hear him deliver a mix of conscious and dance hall vibes to Rototom Sunsplash.
The final act was Taurus Riley accompanied by Dean Frasier and his magical saxaphone. Taurus had knack for engaging the crowd everyone was singing along to his music and especially made an uproar when Dean blew his heart out on his saxaphone over the mic an memorable performance to last a life time.
It was a heavy impact when Taurus called Konshens to the stage to perform their collaboration “Simple Things.” Island Beats was able to share a few words with Konshens and asked him what inspired him to sing his song “Beautiful” he informed that it was due to social media and the stress put on females to want to fit into the norm in terms of self image and body weight. Taurus and Konshens did a great job of showcasing Jamaican culture on the stage that last performance created an inferno.
Before Island Beats set out on the exciting Rototom Sunsplash journey a friend told us that we were going to encounter an experience to last a life time and he could not be more correct we have traveled near and far to cover many festivals and events and for Island Beats Rototom will be an unforgettable part of our journey.
Island Beats and Canada would like to thank Katia Brolo, Sylia, and, last but definitely not least Chiara for allowing us to share in the Rototom Sunsplash celebration this year.
As well to the Glamping company whose bell tent was our home for eight days.
Not to mention the wonderful and caring people such as Yvette from England, Sharon from England, Andreas and Eba who assisted DJ Bubbles in carrying her luggage so willingly, Gloria and Joan as well from the UK, Gege from Gege Vibes in Italy, DJ Alex from Ithiopia Radio, Pappo Venezuela, Jovanah Mood and Gabriel from St Martin, Brune Nidnorg from Jamworld876, DJ Ranks and his lovely wife from Heatwave Radio, and, Papo Venezuela of Sonidero Caribe Radio.
Island Beats is also grateful to the artists such as Yellowman, Andrew Tosh, Mafia & Fluxxy, Indes Pardo, Young Royalty and her manager, Hannibal from Royalty Sounds, Koffie, ZJ Liquid, Freddie Kruger Of Killamanjaro for taking time out to speak with us and Java at RU.
Rototom Sunsplash 2018 was a musical dream come true hope to see you and you there next year.