SOURCE: Jamaica Tourist Board

August 13, 2007 08:00 ET

Reggae Beat Cools Down Chicago Summer Heat at First Annual Chicago Reggae Festival on August 18

Sponsors Include Jamaica Tourist Board, Air Jamaica and Red Stripe Beer

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - August 13, 2007) - Chicago, legendary for its blues music, makes way for the rise of reggae's popularity and following in the city. On Saturday, August 18, the first annual Chicago Reggae Festival will take place partly sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). The Chicago Reggae Festival will be held at Union Park from noon to 10 p.m. and is expected to attract 10,000 reggae-loving fans.

Attendees will be able to enjoy a colorful offering of the island destination through cuisine, gifts, books, and event memorabilia while learning more about Jamaica from the JTB and Air Jamaica. Children will also enjoy a free dance workshop taught by members of the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago teaching traditional African and Caribbean dances.

Jamaica's Director of Tourism, Basil Smith, said, "We are delighted to be part of the first annual Chicago Reggae Festival which will bring the music and talent of Jamaica to Chicago. Music is one of Jamaica's truest and most intrinsic characteristics, and the musical evolution in Jamaica has had a revolutionary impact, not only on the land of its birth, but also on the entire world. Reggae is the most identifiable musical form that many people associate with Jamaica due in large part to the legacy of Bob Marley and other music icons."

Speaking to the growing popularity of reggae music in Chicago and in the country, Jessica McNamarra, president of New Roots Production, LLC and festival organizer, said, "It is an ideal time for Chicago to spotlight and pay homage to the growing popularity of reggae music. Today, it's one of the fastest growing genres of music and probably can be considered mainstream especially with all the Jamaican artists crossing over. Clubs in the city are adding new reggae nights and radio stations are dedicating shows to all reggae music now. It's a phenomenal evolution of our city's music scene." Among the headliners at the day-long musical celebration are acclaimed reggae band Morgan Heritage, comprising four sons and a daughter of famed reggae artist Denroy Morgan; and reggae crossover legends Third World. The Festival's featured sponsor is Red Stripe Beer.

Also set to perform are the iconic vocal trio Culture, who helped define the sound and style of Rastafarian roots reggae; reggae chanteuse Queen Ifrica; global chart-topper Junior Kelly; and current Chicago resident Kofi, known to many music aficionados as a founding member of the legendary Roots, Stems & Branches (RSB) band in his native Caribbean island-nation of Dominica.

Scheduled to perform between acts are reggae deejays Papa G; Slacky J of "Reggae Vibes" on WLUW 88.7 FM; and FRP of "Tropical Riddims" on WORT 89.9 FM in Madison, Wisconsin.

Ticket cost is $12 in advance; $15 on-site. Children 12 years of age and younger may enter for free with a paid adult admission. To purchase tickets and for complete festival information, please visit or call 773.868.3010.

About the Jamaica Tourist Board

The JTB, founded in 1955, is Jamaica's national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. The JTB was declared the Caribbean's Leading Tourist and Convention Bureau by the World Travel Awards (WTA) for 2006, while Jamaica earned the WTA's vote as the World's Leading Cruise Destination, the Caribbean's Leading Destination and the Caribbean's Leading Cruise Destination.

JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Tokyo.

Details of upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica are posted on the Jamaica Tourist Board's Web site at

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