When the game finishes the real battle starts

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Each year residents gather to watch some of the hottest soca artists battle it out against world-class reggae performers at the Soca v Reggae Cup Match after-party.

Reggae has come out on top for the past two years, but organiser Daniel Reece believes soca could have a fighting chance come August 3.

Shal Marshall, a DJ turned soca star most well known for popular tune ‘Trouble’, will put his talents up against reggae artist Wayne Marshall.

Wayne Marshall has been on the music scene for the past ten years and collaborated with everyone from Sean Paul to Beenie Man.

Local entertainers Live Wires and DJ Rusty G will do the early warm.

DJ Spice, D’General, Poison Dart and YGS will also take to the stage at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

Organiser Vejay Steede, of the Barmuvinjam group, said the event was quite different for the Island and more reminiscent of parties in Trinidad, during Carnival.

“People can look forward to a party you cannot believe is happening in Bermuda. It’s an awesome atmosphere,” he explained.

“It’s something you have to experience yourself. It’s an integral part of the Cup Match weekend up until this point.

“After you finish watching the game, whether your team won or lost you can come and celebrate. The cricketers are there and a lot of them get up on the stage and have a good time.”

Considered the official Cup Match after-party, Soca v Reggae has been a staple on the Bermuda calendar since 2007.

The first one took place at Fort St Catherine’s in St George’s.

The Barmuvinjam group — made up of people from Barbados, Bermuda, St Vincent and Jamaica — started out as just some friends playing dominoes.

They noted it was becoming hard to go out without violence occurring “and started promoting good, clean, fun events”.

“We really wanted to get a signature event up and running. We all love soca and reggae because that’s the music we grew up listening to and it’s also promoting the Caribbean culture.”

Mr Steede said they wanted to create an atmosphere where the violence was left out and there was no room for negativity.

“That has always been our philosophy,” he added.

The event has grown exponentially since then between 1,000 and 2,000 people are known to gather at the popular event.

According to organiser Mr Reece, another reason they decided to host the event was to introduce soca music to reggae fans, and vice versa.

Although relatively new to the international music scene, Shal Marshall has several hits people would recognise “but they wouldn’t know that he is the man behind it”, he added.

He said it was often difficult to bring the most popular artists to the Island, but relatively easy to showcase up-and-coming talents.

“Most people actually have soca to be the favourites this year because it has put out a lot of new music that is vibing right now,” Mr Reece said. “Reggae [artists] haven’t put out a lot in 2012, but they put out a lot in 2011.”

In the past two or three years soca fans have been coming out in larger numbers. Mr Reece said the event has done a lot to expose residents to soca music and increase the interest in it.

Despite that, reggae-lover Mr Steede is confident his genre will dominate the clash for the third year in a row.

“Wayne Marshall is a reggae artist that has been around for ten-plus years now. He’s had many, many hits.

“He started out making a string of hits with Bounty Killer, just a good bunch of dance hall songs. I think the reggae team has a big advantage with Wayne Marshall this year.”

Although the artist doesn’t have any massive hits out at the moment, he “has enough in his catalogue to set it off”, Mr Steede said.

The winning team is decided by a panel of judges, who consider criteria like song choice and audience response.

Writers from pan-Caribbean blogs like www.trinijunglejuice.com, have praised the event in the past. Mr Reece said: “They thought the week of events [during Cup Match] was one of the best party weekends they have covered. They rate it extremely high.”

He described Soca v Reggae as “a fantastic local event with international appeal”. He said the event was starting to draw in tourists and had over 400 visitors last year.

“It’s the best event right now on the Bermuda calendar. It’s high-energy, exciting, interactive and a very safe event. It’s also well managed and well organised.”

Tickets, $35 — $50, are sold at Secrets in the Washington Mall in Hamilton.

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Published Jul 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm (Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm)

When the game finishes the real battle starts

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