Culture Shock dancehall reggae returns tonight
A music festival is to return tonight for the first time in seven years. Culture Shock, a celebration of dancehall music, was halted in 2010 after gang violence erupted in Bermuda.
Now Culture Shock 18 is back and will also be used to celebrate the foundation of the festival 25 years ago. Keith Simmons, founder of the festival, said: “We decided to put the event on hold until things became more peaceful. But now the island seems a lot more peaceful and I figured ‘why not bring Culture Shock back?’.”
Mr Simmons started the event in 1994 to generate peace and goodwill through music. The event used to be held at Somerset Cricket Club, but the venue has now been moved to Dockyard’s Snorkel Park for security reasons.
Mr Simmons said: “Snorkel Park seems like the best place to control the crowd.
“It has good vibes and it’s nice and secure, plus everybody like to be on the water.”
He added that younger artists will be a feature of the reborn festival. Mr Simmons said: “Their message is all about family and spreading positivity; there’s no negativity here.”
He added Culture Shock was a good way to connect with younger people, particularly through the sharing of images from previous events on social media.
Mr Simmons explained younger people often recognised family members in Old Culture Shock photographs, but had never experienced the event themselves.
He said his own best memory was of the first Culture Shock in 1994, which featured Jamaican reggae star Garnett Silk, who died later that year aged just 28 in a heroic but unsuccessful bid to save his mother from her blazing home in Mandeville, Jamaica.
Mr Simmons added: “As soon as he went up to the mic he gave off this feeling. No other artist has touched my spirit the way he did.”
He added the run-up to the festival was like an athlete’s preparation for a big event.
Tickets prices start at $85 in advance and can be bought online at www.ptix.bm and the Hamilton and Somerset branches of Audio Visual Electronics.
Entry at the door will cost $100. The show starts at 9pm and will be hosted by MC Richie B, with performances by PopCaan, backed by the Ruff Kutt Krew Band, Queen Ifrica and I-Octane, as well as Bermudian artists like Blac, General Kaution and Jesse Seymour.
The gates will open at 7pm with jugglers to entertain the crowd until the show kicks off.
Coolers, the use of video equipment, and re-entry are all prohibited.