On 23 June 1978, in Jamaica, there was the first edition of Reggae Sunsplash, an original concert festival which began at dusk and continued until dawn for seven days.
It attracted people from all over the globe to enjoy multiple days/nights of reggae music and was defined the “biggest Reggae festival in the history of the world”.
Its aim was to promote the summer season in Jamaica, and, obviously, the Jamaican Tourist Board embraced the concept because it wanted to attract tourists to the island where tourism had only revolved around winter destination hotels and resorts.
By the time of the second festival in 1979, over 100 journalists from Japan, Italy, Sweden, West Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, attended along with an international crowd of about 10,000, ensuring a global audience to Reggae music.
From 1981 the festivals were filmed and recorded, with several videos and albums released. The first was: “A Tribute to Bob Marley”.
A few years later, it expanded with the addition of an international touring festival. Anyway, while the festival was very popular and boosted the local economy, it was not a financial success, owing to the lack of sponsorship or government support.
Therefore there was final event in 1998, held in February, to coincide with celebrations of Bob Marley’s birth.
The festival was re-established in 2006, but it was not successful, whereas the international touring festival has continued.