This is   not a good opportunity for   an author who has just published their first book, and   thinks visibility at BEA might fix their marketing and promotion problems. It will not. If that is indeed your goal, you should have a   very polished pitch, and demonstrate a   successful track record. As far as I’m concerned—as someone who attended this show for 10 years, mainly as an editor with a traditional publishing house—it is not worth the investment. I have updated this post since so much   has changed in the last five years, both   in regards to this particular trade show, as well as the publishing industry. It started off as a convention for booksellers (the American Booksellers Association), and it’s attended mostly by people inside the industry, including literary agents, booksellers, librarians, and the media. Should you exhibit at Author Market? The bulk of BEA consists of an exhibit floor where publishers purchase booth space to show off their upcoming titles (and authors), sell rights, and network with colleagues. It is a New York industry event where traditional publishing insiders talk to other traditional publishing insiders. If you—the author—are not present to advocate for it, your book doesn’t stand a chance. Remember that “visibility” in this context means visibility to the trade (the industry), not visibility to consumers. Here’s why. Still, while BEA attempts to educate and protect authors from making expensive mistakes, be smart and do your research before you make BEA part of your strategic marketing, publicity, and PR plan. If you’re a professional, independent author with a significant history of sales, and already know of other professionals   you could potentially meet and network with at BookExpo, then   it may be a good opportunity for you. (I challenge anyone in the comments to provide evidence that a self-published book gained traction at BEA because the author paid a fee to secure placement—and the author was not present.)

BEA is a quality industry event, and it is a legitimate marketing and promotion opportunity. Best-case scenario: set up meetings in advance and don’t ambush people. It was initially known as “Author Hub” and is now called “Author Market.” This is not an opportunity to sell books—selling books is not allowed at   BEA. Yes, but usually at the invitation of their publisher. Imagine setting a copy of your book down in the world’s largest book fair, and expecting someone to not only notice it, but be entranced by it so much they can ignore 10,000 other things happening at the same time. It’s the largest industry trade show in North America focused on   traditional publishing. Nobody is going to notice your book there. But for the majority of indie authors, it does not make sense to invest   what are likely your limited resources in BEA. There’s a separate event—BookCon—that focuses on consumers. Your book is likely to be promoted with many other books, with no way of attracting attention even if someone did pause for a second within 50 feet of your book. But they will be happy to cash your check and say that your book had a “presence” at BEA. Important: In the past,   BEA has   taken steps to ban companies/organizations   who resell BEA marketing opportunities at exorbitant prices. You can give away copies, though. But it’s not going to lead to meaningful sales. You can see the unwelcome mat reflected in these 2017 registration prices (highest for authors!); authors must also be “approved” for a badge. Here’s the Author Hub sales sheet for 2016. There’s also a separate rights area where literary agents   often   have tables. In 2014, in acknowledgment of the growing indie author market, BEA opened up an exhibit area where indie authors could buy affordable tables to conduct meetings and network. Do authors attend BEA? BEA is generally not interested in unaffiliated authors walking its floor, because every editor/agent hides from the author who is pitching their self-published work. Services that offer to promote your book at BEA are rarely, if ever,   hand-selling or promoting your book in a meaningful way. Every year, traditional publishers decide what specific titles they want to push heavily at BEA, and will often invite the authors to do signings or events meant to bring visibility to the work   pre-publication. Avoid paying to have your book promoted for you at BEA
Aside from the Author Market, there are a handful of opportunities for authors to get visibility for their work at BEA. Yes, there are librarians and booksellers, but they’re rarely   paying attention to the places where   an indie book may be   showcased or promoted. For more insight and advice

Read Orna Ross at ALLi on what book fairs (may) offer indie authors
Indie author David Gaughran has long warned against book fairs You’ll greatly annoy people   if you go pitching on the floor, unless it has to do with subrights or licensing. Photo credit: Clarissa Peterson   / CC BY-NC-SA
In 2012, I wrote the following post as a warning to self-published authors who fall   prey to scams that take advantage of the highly recognized industry trade show, BookExpo   (BEA), previously known as BookExpo America. If you want to satisfy your ego, go ahead. The   emphasis   of the show is on traditional publishing,   rights sales and pre-publication marketing, and does not favor indie title promotion. First, a little background: What is Book Expo (BEA)? Whether or not you exhibit at Author Market, BEA is not a shortcut to getting   up close and personal with traditional publishers or literary agents, in the hopes one of them will publish   or represent your book.

Sarah Miniaci at Smith Publicity and Kristina Radke at NetGalley review the   marketing and publicity strategies that can help increase your book’s discoverability, word-of-mouth, and reviews. Today I’m happy to share an exclusive with my readers: a case study on the book launch for   Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe   by Robert Matzen. Here’s an overview of what you’ll find in   the hour-long discussion, with time stamps:

4:05: Getting to know the project   and determining goals
9:05: What goals were set for the book
11:15: Action item #1: Create pre-publication buzz with consumer market targets (using NetGalley and Goodreads)
25:40: Action item #2: Obtain book trade reviews to establish visibility with buyers (librarians and booksellers) for holiday 2016 season
34:30: Action item #3: Generate major media coverage around release through Christmas 2016
42:15: Results obtained from action items #1 and #2
45:45: Results obtained from action item #3
49:00: Results recap
50:30: Key takeaways And   Smith Publicity is a full-service book publicity firm which, since 1997, worked with thousands of authors and publishers in promoting books from every genre—from New York Times bestsellers to first-time, independent titles. Over 300 publishers and hundreds of indie authors use NetGalley to offer advance review copies of their books and generate early buzz in the book community. Any publicist or author can implement the tactics covered in this case study, which include (but are not limited to) how to incorporate NetGalley’s tools into wider campaigns.

Also in this month’s Glimmer Train bulletin:

My Grandmother’s Cigarette Box   by   Karen Brown
Pleasing Contradictions by Joshua Henkin Any accomplished writer is also a reader—and usually a reader first. At the end of a semester, he wrote to me: “There’s a very specific world that only you can write about, a map that only you can make…”

Read the rest of Danielle’s excellent piece. This is an area that Steven Pressfield is well known for covering (see   The War of Art), and in this month’s Glimmer Train bulletin, fiction writer Danielle Lazarin shares how she deals with the challenge:

I was only halfway through Stuart Dybek’s I Sailed with Magellan when I decided I should just give up on writing altogether…and I wanted to leave it to him, a far more lyric, braver writer than I would ever be. At these humbling moments, I remember advice I received from Dan Chaon while studying fiction at Oberlin. For the writer who is the least a bit humble, this sets up one of the most significant psychological barriers to pursuing a writing career: How could I ever produce something as wonderful   as [admired writer / admired book]?

(PDF files consist of an interior file and your cover file.) IngramSpark does not offer any editorial, design, and production services; you have to come prepared with your files ready to go. Visit this post for background on how to self-publish. If that’s not a possibility for you, then you’ll have to find a formal distributor who can help you, and that’s a difficult challenge for the first-time author. A key difference between IngramSpark and CreateSpace:   CreateSpace offers a   range of paid services to help you prepare printer-ready PDF files. I recommend that authors use CreateSpace to distribute their print books strictly to Amazon (do not choose their “extended” distribution), then use IngramSpark to distribute to the universe outside of Amazon (bricks-and-mortar bookstores, including Barnes & Noble, and more). The end result of using either CreateSpace and/or IngramSpark is that your print book will be available to be ordered by nearly any retailer, as a print edition, and available for sale through their online storefronts if they have one   (such as barnesandnoble.com). Working directly with online retailers usually means better profits, more control, and more access to marketing/promotion tools (but not always). Bottom line: There’s no one right way to go about it, since it depends on your time and resources, your books, and your marketing strategy. This will maximize your reach and your profits from each sale. Today, the most important thing any author needs to know about distribution is that   more than half of all book sales (regardless of format) take place online. IBPA has some recommendations of who to approach. These files are   required to make a   print edition of your book available and on sale through retailers. Print-on-demand printing means that your book isn’t printed   until someone orders and pays for it; when an order comes through, one copy will be printed and shipped to the customer. Photo credit: The City of Toronto   / CC BY
Note from Jane:   This post is part of a 101 series on self-publishing. If not, it’s probably best to go with print on demand. As far as reaching other retailers with your print edition, it’s far better to use IngramSpark’s print-on-demand service. Working with ebook distribution services usually means giving up a percentage of your profits to the distributor, in exchange for the centralized administration and management of all your titles. There’s nothing to stop you from ordering 50 or 100 copies at a time if you want to sell books   to local or regional stores on consignment. Also think it through: If you did invest in printing 500 or 1,000 copies, do you already have customers or accounts that you know would purchase those copies? This will reduce your profit and also risk returns, but these are the industry standard terms required if you want bookstores to   place an order. You do   not have to hire an expensive self-publishing service to get your book distributed through Amazon and   other online retailers; you can secure distribution on your own   at little or no cost for both your ebook edition or print book edition. Parting advice
A self-published author can quickly get their print and ebook distributed to the most important online retailers by using just a couple services, all of which have no or very low upfront costs. Would you rather deal with each online retailer directly, or would you rather reach them through an ebook distribution service? Both services allow you to purchase copies at unit cost plus shipping. You could even choose to use two ebook distributors. This access is also largely without upfront costs, making it straightforward for any author to begin selling their book at Amazon, the No. Print-on-demand distribution
Assuming you’ll go the print-on-demand route, then you have two key distributors to consider:

IngramSpark, a division of Ingram, the largest book wholesaler/distributor in the US; distribution fees cost about $60 per title
CreateSpace, a division of Amazon; no upfront fees

Again, as with the ebook distribution decision, you don’t have to be exclusive with either. It does require buying your own ISBN numbers from Bowker—you cannot use a CreateSpace-provided ISBN with any book you want to distribute via IngramSpark. Or you could choose to distribute directly to Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Nook (by using their do-it-yourself portals), then use Smashwords to capture the rest of the market (such as Scribd and libraries). You can also change your   mind   at any time (although not without some administration hassle and sales downtime). How to distribute when you have a print run
If you do invest in a print run and are comfortable fulfilling orders from your home or office, then you’ll need to sign up with Amazon Advantage to distribute and sell your print book through Amazon. If books are printed only when they’re ordered, that reduces your risk, but it also means that you’re probably not going to see your books sitting on bricks-and-mortar retail shelves nationwide   (or even regionally)—that’s the drawback. You can use both and benefit from both. Distribution used to be   the biggest challenge that self-published authors faced in selling their work—at least   before online retail   came to dominate bookselling. Today, the most   critical distribution is within the reach of each individual author at no cost. Don’t be fooled   by expensive self-publishing packages that claim to distribute your book to thousands of outlets. You must also pay for shipping your books to Amazon. 1 retailer of books in both print and digital format. Do you have speaking or event opportunities where you could sell them? For example, you might sign up with Pronoun (because they offer the best royalties   on Amazon ebook sales), but then add in Smashwords to get the library market that Pronoun doesn’t cover. Print book distribution
Print book distribution   is fairly straightforward if you’re making use of print-on-demand technology to print your books, rather than investing in a print run (where you produce hundreds or thousands of books at a time). It costs $99/year and they require a 55% discount off the retail price. If you really, really want to encourage bookstores to order and stock your print-on-demand book:   Make sure you use IngramSpark, and set the discount at 55%, and make the books returnable. First-time self-published authors rarely have a sufficient marketing and sales plan in place (or a sufficient track record) that would justify bookstores ordering and stocking books on their shelves. The good news is that you don’t have to choose between working directly with online retailers and using ebook distributors, since it’s rare for any distributor to demand exclusivity. Some ebook distributors can also reach outlets you can’t on your own, such as the library market, and may offer you helpful tools to optimize book sales and marketing. However, don’t assume that if you do a print run, that means you can get distribution into physical retail stores. Self-published authors have the same access to online retail distribution as the major publishers. Here’s how. For example, you could choose to work directly with Amazon KDP to sell your ebooks on   Amazon, then use an ebook distributor such as Draft2Digital or Smashwords to reach other retailers. Ebook distribution
Once you have ebook files ready to go (EPUB and/or MOBI files), you have a choice to make. You can always order print-on-demand copies at a reasonable unit cost if you want 50 or 100 copies on hand to sell at events. My book,   Publishing 101, costs about $3.60 per unit if I want a copy, plus shipping.

In my latest column for Publishers Weekly, I discuss the potential of online education for book marketing, particularly prior to publication. I mention   three distinct strategies:

Create a free email-based course leading up to your book release. Read the entire column. Create a free webinar series leading up to your book release. Offer an interactive online education opportunity to readers who buy your book by a particular date.

This song seeks to bring about certain conversations: to talk about what is really happening in our society.” Brazen, bold, and defiant even, Blood Money hits deep and achieves just that. From the start, Protoje’s ethos has always been one of unforgiving honesty and transparency that has helped establish his music with every listener, new and old. Protoje’s Blood Money Begs No Pardons

by Shana-Kay Hart
Every now and then, there comes a song that helps make sense of the world around us. The tune comes almost a year after the release of his Royalty Free project and the artist hints that more is to be expected. After being away from Jamaica for some time, the singer & songwriter came back with an adjusted understanding of the state of the country and uses this song as a way to address particular matters. SHARE / Feb 2, 2017 05:40 pm

As one of the world’s modern-day “soothsayer” or teller of truth, Protoje’s newest song Blood Money shines a glaring and inescapable light on masked issues plaguing Jamaica. A clear and clever work of social commentary himself, Protoje reminds us of the inherent need to be heard and speak out on injustices especially in today’s society. “This is unfair, hypocritical, and widely inaccurate. Even if just for a minute, the song transports its listeners into the depths of an artiste’s mind and soul, giving a voice to far too frequently unspoken, muffled or suppressed thoughts and beliefs. As expected, he begs for no pardons in doing so.With Blood Money, Protoje does what he is best at: mixing melodies and meaningful messages aimed at unearthing the truth. “The most I can say is Blood Money” needs a home, it will be lonely out there all by itself.”
Listen to Blood Money below: “People who have less, are made to seem like the problem in society,” he says.

It makes for a much more enjoyable listening experience throughout. 
The compilation begins with “The Builder’, a song with a strong reggae undertone but laden with the band’s own uniqueness. The drums on “No Shirt’ was the highlight of the track and was matched by the strong rock influence in “Unity” which made it a nice end to a relatively otherwise paced project. 
The standout track was however “Blue Dream”, a bluesy feel good song about the precious herb. by Susan Spencer

When one hears the name Baked Potatoes the first thing that comes to mind is not a reggae rock group out of Oneonta, New York. But alas, that is what it is! The instrumentals though more potent in this track meshed perfectly with the vocals. Each, very individualistic with strong instrumental accompaniments makes for a refreshing listen. Overall, a well-rounded production showcasing variety and fusion in its best form: with reggae always on the menu, ‘loaded’ with all the fixings and accompaniments.You can listen to the project below! Baked Potatoes on the menu! Only flaw is that the pace of the song sometimes made it hard to keep up with the lyrics but was compensated for by the flawless instrumental backing, especially with Joe Kaplan on the guitar. 
“No Shirt No Shoes” and “Unity”, the last two on the compilation adds diversity to the band’s sound which is very good at such a juncture in their journey. Pat tells classic love stories but with a certain playfulness that makes the song appealing. 
This leads to the more fast paced and upbeat “Postcard Song”. SHARE / May 2, 2016 09:17 am

Baked Potatoes, a relatively new group made their way onto the musical scene and is infusing traditional reggae sounds with ska, punk, rock and jam as they call it. 
“Loaded”, their newest project, though only 5 tracks, will have you guiltily repeating the songs at the end. The band’s lead vocalist, Pat Tierney has a charming warmth to his voice that seems to be on the cusp on the maturity but clinging to youth.

“ Our Reggae Sumfest crowd should also cross their fingers as with the likes of both Bounty Killer and Beenie Man on the show, there could be a live collaboration of their hit single Legendary, ” suggests Joe Bogdanovich, Downsound Records CEO, the festival’s new chairman. Beenie Man boasts a massive catalogue which includes Girls Dem Sugar, Who Am I, We Run Road and Hottest Man Alive. 
Bounty Killer and Agent Sasco last performed on Reggae Sumfest in 2014 and patrons will be in for a treat as both artistes are heavyweight performers in their own right. 
Agent Sasco is expected to thrill in his commanding lyrical style which has brought him rave repute as one of the best Dancehall performers of this generation. The transformed Reggae Sumfest 2016 explodes in Montego Bay, with Sumfest Beach Party at the Aqua Sol Theme Park on Sunday, July 17; the All-White Party hits Pier 1 on Tuesday, July 19; Sound Explosion returns on Thursday, July 21; and Dancehall Night revs up on the Friday at Catherine Hall. SHARE / May 20, 2016 12:40 pm

Dancehall giants Bounty Killer and Agent Sasco were notable absentees at last year’s staging of the event and will make their return to the Reggae Sumfest stage on Dancehall Night, Friday, July 22 alongside the likes of Grammy-Award winning act, Beenie Man who closed last year’s International Night 2. 
Reggae Sumfest 2016 is slated for July 17 – 23, with the live shows set for the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex. 
The King of the Dancehall, Beenie Man will rock the Reggae Sumfest stage yet again, this time performing on Dancehall Night. International Dancehall artistes Beenie Man and returning after a one year break, Bounty Killer and Agent Sasco. King of Dancehall returns to rule Dancehall Night

by Contributed

 Organisers of Reggae Sumfest, The Greatest Reggae Show on Earth, have announced their first set of artistes for this year’s festival. The Grammy-Award winning artiste has been on a recent high following the use of a sample of his hit track Tear Off Me Garment on  Controlla, a track from Hip-Hop artiste, Drake’s, recently released album Views From The 6. With a catalogue spanning more than three decades, the hard hitting deejay is expected to thrill patrons with international hits such as Down in the Ghetto, Benz and Bimma and Cellular Phone and will certainly raise the ante with later hits such as Global Gallis, Support Fi Support and Get Gyal Everyday. Reggae Sumfest 2016 will end with a bang on Saturday, July 23 dubbed as Reggae Night with performances from top Jamaican artistes.  With the recent release of his album, The Theory of Reggaetivity, patrons can expect a Mix Up of old favourites such as Idiot Thing Dat, Step Pon Dem, Talk How Me Feel and Hand To Mouth with anthems from his latest collection such as Country Bus, Day in Day Out and Stronger. 
Bounty Killer is expected to set the Dancehall Night alight as the legendary Dancehall artiste is no stranger to the big stage.

“Can’t feel no way about any of this music business thing once you have those things.” Protoje simply ‘Can’t Feel No Way’

by Contributed
“Jamaica’s own Protoje returns with a new reggae jam called “Can’t Feel No Way,” premiering exclusively on Billboard. 

SHARE / Jun 2, 2016 08:24 am

“Inspiration for this song came after my return to Jamaica, feeling so grateful to be healthy and strong after a long year of being on the road and touring consistently,” Protoje tells Billboard of the track, produced by Tracker John MD, a member of Protoje’s newly formed Indiggnation producer collective.

“I just thought about how I’ve been feeling on the journey. “While trying to come up with a concept I sent the song to a friend of mine also in the music business and she replied within five minutes with the storyline. But also thought of other friends I know who feel they can’t get past certain struggles and its proven how God uses the people around you to be a helping hand.” Kristine continued, “I love working with Rory – he always pushes me to do my best and encourages me to incorporate my spiritual beliefs and church background in my current expressions.” The release, Hand Over River, is her second single from the upcoming album, Songs From Zion. 

SHARE / Jul 15, 2016 08:54 am

The beautiful music video, directed by Frederic Blake, tells the story of an aspiring singer trying and staying on track towards her dream. Kristine Alicia places ‘Hand Over River’

by Contributed
Kristine Alicia delivers her best music video to date. How people have been there to help me fulfill what I believe I’ve been called to do. Hand Over River is produced by RoryStoneLove of Black Dub Movement. As soon as Kristine Alicia received the track from the producer she immediately got inspired to write the lyrics. I loved it as it’s a story that everyone could relate to.” says Kristine.

The show was finally about to start. She became one voice with them as the concert became quite a tribute: Could You Be Loved, Buffalo Soldiers, then a medley dedicated to other unforgettable stars like Desmond Dekker and the Skatalites. Despite its program started officially in 2007, this institution celebrates today its tenth birthday as the place that offers a better knowledge about Reggae to Rototom’s guests, debating about its culture and philosophy together with Carolyn Cooper from the University of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. Jumping from one side of the stage to the other, he started with Mix Up, a hit from his latest album Theory of Reggaetivity, released in February 2016, his third album after Infiltration (2005) and Gully Sit’n (2007), which he considers the essence of his interpretation of Reggae. The bright voice and the charismatic figure of this woman dancing in white, together with the long-standing experience gained near legends of music, immediately conquered the audience. by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

It took us another adventurous journey to get here, but we found again the familiar and joyful atmosphere we were looking for. Their songs Historias Tatuadas, Hijos de un Mismo Dios claimed and received again the positive reaction of the public. The band performed a show well mixed with popular music and social commitment, focusing on themes as the necessity of public health care worldwide and the sadly known migrant crisis, getting the immediate approval and empathy of the crowd. The flow of the night rose high as Assassin, for his first time at Rototom, brought in his explosive sound. Reggae Party Next Door, Solidarity, Sponji Reggae, Shine Eye Gal were the pillars of the performance that sustained the energy of the show. The hit from the 2012 album El Murmullo del Fuego, Love is the Only Way, was the soundtrack of such moment, representing very well the affection between an artist and its audience here at Rototom Sunsplash. Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 1: It’s just the beginning! Macaco needed no introduction, as a huge area in front of the stage was already taken by the enthusiasm of the Spanish people professing love for the national stars. SHARE / Aug 19, 2016 11:31 am

We already had the feeling that Rototom’s 2016 edition would have been extraordinary, and we were right because as soon as we got here that sensation became awareness. Also, we would like to mention some artists from the Showcase Stage and the Dub Academy: Sattas, a rare and effectively unique turkish band playing roots reggae with balcanic contaminations; the Italian Imperial Sound Army featuring Ras Biblical and Dub String, that surprised us with the unusual combination or flute and violin improvising on the best bass lines. This is what reggae music is for!”. The Main Stage will be hit by great stars as Damian “Jr. Here we will discover new promises of reggae music too, as Rototom keeps its doors open to all the new talents inviting them to perform on the always amazing Showcase Stage, this year enhanced by a promising Ska groups selection! The musicians dropped the Wipeout riddim  and Assassin seemed to be never tired of dancing before the crowd. He shouted “It was wonderful to be here” to conclude his outstanding performance. Towards the conclusion, while Buffalo Soldiers was still going on, she shouted “can you feel it? We started the day at the Reggae University. She welcomed us at sunset time elegantly dressed, singing Closer to You and I Wanna Get High. Songs like J-O-B and Feel Highrie inflamed the dance floor.  Reckoning again the concept of hype we heard about just two hours earlier, we eventually had the opportunity to witness the hype lively. Gong” Marley, Manu Chao and Beres Hammond, just to mention a few. We felt properly warmed up. It’s the spirit of positive vibrations. In the Festival’s area we find a happy community that shares from a very long time a passion, a belief in a world united by the best vibes of Reggae Music
We will witness legends like Michael Rose, Israel Vibration, Inner Circle, Morgan Heritage. All of a sudden the singer Dani “el Mono Loco” Carbonell jumped off the stage to be closer to the fans and they embraced him while standing on the barriers. The presenters called the legendary Michael Rose asking for his most famous hit Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. As he will tell us during an interview, he will surely come at Rototom again. She was helped by her son, the chorister, reaching the highlight of the show. Rototom Sunsplash will offer not only a super lineup for the 23rd year in a row, but will also spread the message of peace and unity that reaches thousands of people all over the world every year. The honour to open this 2016 edition is given to Marcia Griffiths, former member of the legendary I-Threes. The legendary former leader of Black Uluru then walked us gently towards the end of this truly exciting first Rototom’s day. As usual the festival’s area is well organised and massive enough to contain four stages in total, each one provided with a powerful  sound system. Just outside of the Reggae University we met Combe Capelle, the percussion group that every year drag the audience to Main Stage. The first of many other legends to come was on the stage to make us dance until late. Towards the conclusion the call “free Buju Banton” while performing General Penitentiary had the total attention from the audience.

The sound system was well handled by crews from UK: Fat Bird Recordings featuring Kobo, the surprising Evermoor Sound, Dub Wise is the tune that brought many to the dance floor. The program offers inquiries into themes as the climate change, the violation of LGTB people’s rights in the world, the importance of an conscious education in order to change the world. His latest work Zion Bird (2016) is a collection of good uplifting vibes. Before the concerts we had the chance to meet young Runkus, performing today on the Showcase Stage. As Macaco was yesterday, we can consider this group another example of the great Spanish presence here at the festival. Many aficionados came here to listen to their idols in such special setting. In conclusion Israel Vibration & the Roots Radics came on stage. Songs like Move Yuh Feet, Energy and Kindness are going to be always remembered by Rototom’s audience. The dance floor was almost empty in the beginning, but Runkus & Old Skl Bond successfully called everyone to enjoy the music as soon as they started! Uplifting guitar solos and Joaquin Quino McWhinney’s voice put everyone in a palpable sentimental mood. If Green Valley is able to gather so many people, we don’t know what to expect for guests as Damian Marley and Manu Chao in the next days! by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

It’s not easy to orientate ourselves in Rototom’s world, as it has many places to visit night and day. 

SHARE / Aug 19, 2016 11:52 am

Workshops never stop their activities and we try to check all of them every day. Their performance was a perfect specimen of roots reggae enriched by a bluesy touch. Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 2: Old and New Vibes! Singing in both spanish and english, Busca la Luz and Calling You Out were the songs that made them closer minute by minute to the audience’s heart. 
We must mention the short appearance of Dada Yute on the Main Stage, because this talented brazilian singer kept the vibes positive during the break. He shared his energy with all of us throughout a selection of the all-time classics as Cool & Calm and Strength Of My Life, then presenting tunes from the awaited 18th album Play It Real (2015), played in Tosh-quoting style songs as Ganja, Wha It Name, IRS. The band from Usa is back with a brand new album, Perfect Summer, much awaited after 14 years of silence in studio. Just imagine the many hands in the air like flags captured by the music, opening every frontier as they wish for their music. He told us about the importance he gives to move constantly in the universe of music, aiming for different styles and feelings, as it’s the heart the guides his musical production. Then came the turn of Green Valley, a Catalan group that made a great performance with hits from their latest works Hijos de la Tierra (2014) and Ahora (March 2016). Even though the vibes already fulfilled us, we decided to visit the Dub Academy on the way to the camping. His reggae has many R&B influences, together with Hip Hop explorations, reaching almost the same heights of “Jr. Then a Big Mountain came on stage! Ijahman Levi started the night at the Main Stage, he chanted evergreens as Are We A Warrior and Africa Crisis, just like a true reggae ambassador. We remember also I Am A Levi, a song about his Rastafarian conversion as a youth. Gong” music. Is Rototom showing us his love for Spain? Debates and documetaries are the way to share experiences and points of view about everything that concerns our lives as world’s citizens. In conclusion Maasai Warrior, a sound system from Bristol that made us end our second day rightly, dancing until sunrise. The motto is “Freedom and Dignity” and articipants of international relevance are here to give their contribute. Romario Bennett, son of the great disc jokey Determine, has a fine taste in music. These never old musicians brought us back to the best jamaican rockers’ days and Cecil “Skeleton” Spence proved to be still a great showman, dancing like his crutches were just additional legs and arms. Besides the already mentioned Reggae University, the Social Forum is another institution that keeps the visitors posted about what’s happening worldwide. For eight days the Social Forum will give updates about the contemporary struggles that today can affect us all. His latest album “Move In”  (2016) surely represents very well his ideas, for it is a fine mix of reggae and ambitious vibes.  Runkus walked and danced on stage confident as a true professional, creating an immediate good relation with both musicians and crowd. It’s surely merit of his remarkable performance at the Showcase Stage yesterday, give this guy a shot!

SHARE / Aug 20, 2016 12:55 pm

We assisted to an outstanding opening act by Kabaka Pyramid. Strictly Roots, Jah Love and Wanna Be Loved, since 1994 Morgan Heritage is “happy to share Reggae with you all”. When we were on our way to the exit we couldn’t resist the call of Dub. At the press conference he told us about his youth, when he listened to Gospel with his mother and then Reggae inspired him. Foundation, Warrior, All for One, with just few tunes he got us all. The idea of love and spirituality connecting each one to an higher being is what’s guiding his artistic production in all directions. It was impossible to hide a certain Italian pride while Alborosie entered the stage. Mad Professor was at the console to play the last positive vibes of the day. by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

The festival’s area was already lively when we arrived, masses came early for today’s guests! We met him after the show and he confessed us how overwhelmed he was by playing in such setting. He played for almost two hours and gave us the goodnight with Kingston Town. He surely showed us to perform live as good as major artists such as Alpha Blondy and other african reggae representatives. The second guest was Meta, who made a terrific live with The Cornerstones. He’s on the way to release a new album, meanwhile consider that the previous Ancient Power (2013) was given many top 10 rating worldwide! Between the tunes he let the musicians keep the very good vibes, so we heard quotes of Pink Floyd and jazzy improvisations. Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 3: What a night! For his first time at the Rototom Sunsplash festival, this african artist is going to be followed more and more in the next years. Then Dada Yute showed up to make Kabaka a question: “Will you come to Brasil to help us sharing the message?”. The answer is to be found in “that kind of evolution Reggae is”, which connects us all and gives us the chance to be in places like Rototom, already a good platform for both old and new talents. As soon as the audience looked tired Albo shouted “wake up and don’t sleep”, and jumped here and there on the stage while singing Still Blazing and some of his early ska tunes. Given the honour of the closing act one again, Puppa Albo played all his greatest hits for us: Herbalist, Poser, Police, Rastafari Anthem. Grew up in the nineties listening to the best Dancehall, he decided to teach us something about it! The band from Usa entered on stage a little late due to soundcheck problems, but as soon as they entered on stage the crowd stopped complaining and started dancing happily. Just after the usual dj set by Freddy Krueger, we were ready for the last two great artists on the Main Stage: Morgan Heritage and Alborosie! We loved the dubstep influences he put in the show, playing an amazing intro to Koro-Fyah, with whom he played Worldwide Love. This year the Dub Academy seems to be much more frequented than during the past editions, we can hardly wait to witness the presence of Jah Shaka on Thursday 18!

While Damian was performing all the most beloved tunes for the audience – Dispear, Land of Promise, Shoot Out – the volume became lower all of a sudden, affecting the sound quality very much. He surely showed to capture the audience’s ears and to be confident in the eventual difficult moments while on stage.  Gong” Marley back at the Rototom after three years. Although the troubles seemed to persist, Damian surely brought a positive mood back. Gong had the sensation there was some trouble, his voice had not the expected power. After he played for one hour and a half he started to conclude his performance, going away on the notes of Could You Beloved. Feeling Irie is the song that describes more what we were experiencing in the pit. SHARE / Aug 20, 2016 01:05 pm

The first one to walk on stage was Pablo Moses, remembered for his 1978 album Revolutionary Dream. He aims to play on the Main Stage for the next edition, hopefully switching to a performance with musicians instead of the sound system. However, the real positive mood has been reached when Jah9 entered on the stage. Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 4: When the stars come back

by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

It was impressive to see thousands of fans gathering at the entrance long before the official start. Many came just to see Damian “Jr. The audience asked for an encore and Jr. Her beautiful voice, together with the power of her lyrics, walked us on a musical journey that we will hardly forget. He entered on the stage dancing on the cover of Bob’s Sun Is Shining, then he dropped Make It Bun Dem for the joy of everyone. By the way, he was spotted near the Dancehall stage in 2015, chatting and chilling with the people. He performed great hits such as Ready, Aim, Fire and Born to be Bad, warming up the audience long before the climax of the night was reached. Brothers, Preacher Man and a Lennon’s quote of Imagine, she sensually sang Avocado, conquered our hearts with Revolution Lullaby  before concluding with A New Day. We would like to mention also the lovely Sistah Awa – What’s Your Problem, The Right Remedy – and the talented Attila from Italy. Gong kindly played some more reggae for us, beloved tunes such as Get Up, Stand Up, Road to Zion  and Welcome to Jamrock. He proposed a solution to all of us singing the War / No More Trouble medley. We will meet him the day after for a quick talk about his third time at the Rototom Sunsplash, still happy he played on one of the biggest stages here. We were sorry not to enjoy properly the show and even Jr. Then it was turn of Ziggi Recado from Netherlands, who kept the rhythm high and performed a terrific show. Finally, the much awaited star: Damian Marley. Their performances on the Showcase Stage stopped many people already on their way to sleep. It was still just the beginning when we noticed, unfortunately, some problems with the sound system of the Main Stage. The 2016 is a year full of new collaborations, in particular with Lampadread from One Love HI Powa crew. Even if at about 5 am there was a black out in the whole festival’s area, Attila didn’t stop his concert and started singing a cappella with the audience.

On our fifth day at the 23rd european reggae we wait for one of our continental stars: Dub Inc from France. Deep basses as usual at the Dub Academy, plus lyrical fantasies composed by Iration Steppas featuring Mackie Banton. They did such a good show that the dj Freddie Krueger had to spin their tunes again during the break. by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

Reggae has a good and old friendship with Europe, a continent that got the message and gave birth to many talents of the genre. The legendary Inner Circle brought us back to the rockers’ days, showing to be still Bad Boys on stage. They played in almost all the biggest european festivals and it was their first time at Rototom, they brought us an energetic sound and great tunes such as Emergency, Music Is the Girl I Love. 
In the meanwhile Chalart58 from Barcelona was breaking other walls, sneaking into reggae music with electronic vibes of his own production. Heart of the Congos (1977) is the album they played through dub explorations and intelligent riffs, warming us up for the long night. In the end the awaited live of Dub Inc, the band that represents more the french people in the audience. Surely representatives of the young generation, they chose the setting of the Rototom – made of peace, love and unity – to do this important call for unity in Europe, against walls and separations. All the songs from Paradise (2013) and also from old releases such as Afrikya (2010) are still an important part of the playlist, but only to satisfy the people completely. We listened to the all-classics such as We A Rockers, Sweet Jamaica and Tenement Yard. Rototom Sunsplash Day 5: A festival for Europe? It’s always hard to make a good beginning for who’s playing first, but here at Rototom we saw many artists able to gather the crowd in front of the stage only by using good music. SHARE / Aug 21, 2016 08:29 am

Opening act by The Congos: the band that worked also with Lee “Scratch” Perry in the seventies showed us to be still groovy, making us feel the african roots. However, we have to say that the european audience is always demanding, especially for what concerns the sing-along. We saw then the Gentleman’s Dub Club, a band from Leeds (Uk) that entered on stage carrying a european flag, reminding us about the recent referendum. We remember their collaboration with the Dancehall star Skarra Mucci in They Want, then for great hits such as Better Run, Metissage and Sounds Good. Their “french touch” consists in a great mix of north-african, arabic melodies with the best french hip-hop influences for what concerns lyrics. Even without Jacob Miller this band keeps entertaining massive audiences worldwide and here in Europe, because of the great success achieved here with Sweat (A La La La La Long), they never forget to play it! Thanks to the great singers Hakim Meridja (aka Bouchkour) and Aurelien Zohou (aka Komlan) they achieve a remarkable relation with the public.

Nandu Popu of Sud Sound System came on stage to sing a song with Manu, met just the day before at the restaurant. After Damian’s audio troubles we didn’t trust in the sound system’s capacities anymore, but in the end Manu came to use it properly. He played all the greatest hits, some Mano Negra’s songs and other tunes – King Kong five – of his early career. We were going to have a very long night, because of the two main shows: Manu Chao on the Main Stage and Jah Shaka at the Dub Academy. 

SHARE / Aug 24, 2016 10:39 am

The first finally accepted to play at Rototom after years of requests, the second is one of the names – Mad Professor, Channel One, Jamie Rodigan – that makes the Dub Academy more popular year by year. With his never boring – just think of Clandestino – mix of punk, balcan, ska and reggae, he did the most powerful show so far. Enriched by sensational sax lines and great voice, songs as Rebel, She’s Royal and Good Girl Gone Bad were a good treatment for our ears. In his first time here Manu Chao was entertained and he entertained us all with a super concert, making us jump from the beginning to the end. Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 6: Manu Chao’s Sold Out! The 23rd edition of the Rototom Sunsplash was also honoured to host who realised the first remarkable sold-out in festival’s history. The evening began with a great live of Tarrus Riley featuring Dean Fraser at the saxophone and Alaine at the vocals. His latest release is Nightbird (2015). Just before Manu Chao, we assisted to the debut of Biga Ranx, french toaster whose music is deeply inspired by dub, electro and dancehall. Manu Chao did a spectacular performance, he played for more than two hours! The sound system provided by Blackboard Jungle calls many people to feel the bass lines in all their quality. He kept the positive energy in the audience while going towards a super end. by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

We saw more people than usual as soon as we woke up.

They made the audience move their feet from the beginning to the end, performing their unique mix of dancehall with southern Italy’s music. Hands in the air, voices rising during every chorus, lighters illuminating the huge area before the Main Stage: this was Beres Hammond performing live. The tireless Italian trio is present every year and as usual they arrived on stage ready to start the night with a great load of energy. As they performed for less than an hour the people protested and tried to call them back on stage, but unluckily the two presenters told us that the show must go on. Even if each performance was in our opinion too brief, the artists came on stage bringing all the same amount of love, joy and superb reggae music! We were just a bit sorry to listen to the Wailing Souls not at their best, as they sang many tunes out of key.  However the musicians helped them in keeping the good vibes throughout the whole show. SHARE / Aug 24, 2016 10:54 am

On Friday 19 the show began with the Sud Sound System. The first were representatives of the european reggae scene and we would like to mention especially Raphael, another Italian talent we are proud of. In the end the best were Randy Valentine and Junior Kelly’s closing part, Rasta Should Be Deeper! by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

The day after Manu Chao’s sold out everyone was amazed, this 2016 edition already brought in Spain more than the usual 250’000 people and we still had to listen to many other artists. He put a lot of energy and grace in every tune and the audience thanked him singing I’m So In Love out loud. Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 7: Friend’s night! Once everyone in the pit calmed down, it was turn for Rototom & Friends: a band that gathers reggae stars such as Iriepathie, Jahcoustix, Raphael, Randy Valentine, Wailing Souls and Junior Kelly. His style made of roots reggae and soul makes his music unique, and so was his relation with us while performing. Le Radici Ca Tieni and Sciamu A Ballare are the most known tunes and the ones able to warm up the crowd unfailingly. In a place like Rototom whoever comes must be aware of the festival’s hugeness and that live music starts at 8.30pm to continue for almost ten hours, a long time dedicated just to the best of reggae, dancehall, dub and ska. The truly awaited star was Beres Hammond & Harmony House Band, who concluded the night with a huge selection of greatest hits such as I Feel Good, Can’t Stop A Man, Groovy Little Thing, Last War and Putting Up Resistance.

He collaborated with many famous reggae artists such as Steel Pulse and Dub Inc, to promote a better education not only in Ivory Coast but in many other African countries as well. Then it was turn of Yaniss Odua and Volodia from France, two rising stars who brought a sensational mix of roots reggae and french hip-hop. Then it came also Freddie’s turn and he delighted us with legendary hits such as Push Comes to Shove and I Was Born a Winner. He surely was the best artist to end this 2016 edition and look forward to August 2017. Reminding us that the next Rototom Sunsplash will be dedicated to Africa, the place of our roots, Tiken Jah Fakoly from Ivory Coast came to give us some last good reggae vibes before the official end of the festival. by Ferruccio, Gianluca, Giulio

The end of the festival arrived and caught us unprepared. SHARE / Aug 25, 2016 11:15 am

With a bit of sadness we moved from the camping to the concerts’ area, but we knew that even if it was the last night we were going to be truly happy at the end of it. We recommend you to listen to Un pied sur Terre (2016) and Moment Ideal (2014)! The opening act was Max Romeo & the Charmax Band! They arrived on stage all of a sudden surprising us with modern beats instead of the roots reggae we were waiting for, but we have to say that it was a much appreciated gift, as the crowd seemed to be very happy and surely didn’t complain about some more hectic dancing! We were waiting for a great show by Freddie McGregor (and it was) but we didn’t expect the super performance made by his two children Chino and Di Genius, who made us jump like crazy on dancehall tunes. Walking again between the various workshops, markets and stages, started to put us in the right mood. After a shy beginning they showed us to be very professional and talented voices, until Max Romeo came back to sing other hits such as Milk and Honey and then to conclude the show together with his children singing Chase the Devil. After the show all the members of the organisation went on the Main Stage to thank the people and they told us to have faith: the european reggae festival will be happy to welcome everybody next year in the same amazing and enjoyable location! Rototom Sunsplash 2016 Day 8: A reassuring conclusion! His music is characterised by incisive songs about his country and Africans in general, with the aim of promote a political and cultural resurgence of the African continent. This legend of reggae music came on stage applauded by thousands of people while singing One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward. He sang also War Ina Babylon and Selassie I Forever before leaving the stage and letting his two children Romario and Azana sing at his place. After the concerts ended at the Main Stage we quickly took our stuff out of the locker, we went to put it in the car and we ran back as fast as we could, because Jamie Rodigan was setting the dance floor on fire and after all the night was still young… We were ready to spend at least another week here, but we will be also happy to wait for the next Rototom’s edition.

Vegas and reggae legends Joseph Hill, Beres Hammond, Culture and Marcia Griffiths to name a few. 
The new single “Strangers” is a mix of vintage & modern production, co- written produced & tailored like haute couture by Guillaume “Gee” Metenier, the riddim track is performed by a line-up of top players from Paris international music scene. Courtney has also penned and produced hits for international stars, Nelly Furtado & Michael Franti, as well as Luciano, Mr. Courtney John’s solo efforts have garnered him some of music’s highest accolades, his releases From Letters to Words and 2009’s Made in Jamaica with the infectious single “Lucky Man” saw crossover success. Strangers is the 1st single from Courtney John’s  4th solo studio album of the same name which will be released in January, 2017. Courtney John returns with ‘Strangers’

by Contributed
Meet Courtney John, the lovers rocker, that enigmatic, rare artist who comes along every once in a while, with uniqueness that simply radiates. His peers have called him a modern-day Slim Smith; some say he’s like a young Eddie Kendrick’s or even Curtis Mayfield. 

SHARE / Oct 14, 2016 10:53 am

Writing, singing and producing comes naturally to Courtney John who was born into a musical family. He grew up listening to his uncles Winston and Beres Hammond, so it came as no surprise, when at age twelve; he wrote and performed his first song. Vocal and lyrical contribution to Sly & Robbie’s 2011 Grammy Nominated Album “One Pop Reggae” only further established John as a musical heavyweight and his title as the worldwide “Lovers Rocker”.