7 Facts – Tony Rebel And Rebel Salute

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Rebel Salute 2016 gets underway tonight, and many reggae lovers from across the island and elsewhere around the world are getting ready to converge on Grizzly’s Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann, to enjoy the music and atmosphere. There will be more than 50 artistes performing, with a mix of old school greats alongside current favourites.

We’ve already compiled two playlists featuring hits from the artistes who will be performing on night 1 and night 2, but since it’s Fact Friday, we decided to share some fun information about the event’s founder, reggae star Tony Rebel, and the festival itself. Take a look:

  1. Tony Rebel was born Patrick George Anthony Barrett on January 15, 1962, in Manchester.
  2. He has released 11 studio albums and been featured on a number of compilations.
  3. He was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace in June 2013.
  4. His biggest international hit is 1996’s “If Jah Is Standing By My Side.” It was such a big hit that a Spanish version, “Si Jah Esta a Lado de Mi,” was also eventually released.
  5. Rebel Salute was first staged in 1994 as a celebration of Tony Rebel’s birthday on January 15th. It has evolved from an annual one-night ‘birthnight bash’ at Fayor’s Entertainment Centre in Mandeville to a globally recognised cultural event, attracting major local sponsors.
  6. The festival employs the slogan ‘For the preservation of reggae,’ so it has a pretty clean image. The organisers prohibit the selling and drinking of alcohol and the consumption of all forms of meat – only fish is allowed. There is also a strict policy against profanity and certain types of lyrics.
  7. This year’s staging was declared an exempt event under the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015 last December 17. It will be the second event held in Jamaica which has been granted the exemption. The first, Rastafari Rootzfest, was held in Negril, Westmoreland, from November 12 – 15 last year. A Ministry of Justice fact sheet on the amended Act states, “Where an event is declared exempt, persons who attend the event will not be liable to be arrested, detained or prosecuted for smoking ganja or possession of ganja at the event, or transporting ganja to the event, as long as they have complied with the amounts and conditions specified in the order declaring it an exempt event.”