One Step Forward: Roots of Reggae in 2012

Like Lee 'Scratch' Perry, in 2012 I need to become the Dub Organiser Photo: Deepthrought

It’s hard to believe that we’re now more than half way through January already. For many that may well be a good thing. After all, the consequences of Christmas over-indulgence and Christmas credit card-inspired financial pain, together with the seasonal self-denial that New Year’s Resolution can conspire to make January a bit of a grind. Luckily, Roots of Reggae is keeping me nicely busy and helping me keep the January blues at bay. Here’s a quick run through of what’s been happening with the project so far

The Stereo MCs were right after all

Just ahead of Christmas Roots of Reggae won a prize! In early December I entered Roots of Reggae for the competition ‘A Space for 2012’, run by leading social network the Hub King’s Cross and Simpl, the social innovation marketplace. I had only entered the competition at the last minute after a friend recommended I do so. Sufficed to say, I was bowled over when I received an email informing me Roots of Reggae had won one of the two prizes on offer, 12 month’s virtual or ‘Connect’ membership to the Hub. Okay, so I hadn’t ‘t won the top prize of 12 months’ office space at the Hub King’s Cross. I was still incredibly proud that Roots of Reggae had been recognised and I had been offered a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded people.

Since coming back to London after Christmas I’ve taken my first tentative steps to getting the most of my Hub Connect membership. I’ve met up with the good people at the Hub King’s Cross and have registered Roots of Reggae on the Hub’s online network. Over the next month or so I’m hoping to use the membership to gain the knowledge and skills I will need to develop Roots of Reggae and to connect Roots of Reggae into other social projects in London. Or, in the words of a certain hit from 1992, I’m going to get myself [and therefore Roots of Reggae] connected.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.)

The recent release of O.D.B.’s FBI file might reasonably suggest Staten Island’s finest are not necessarily the role models I should look to as I seek to develop Roots of Reggae in 2012. Nonetheless, I think their cautionary tale of the all-pervasive influence of money is highly relevant right now. The Roots of Reggae launch event was a labour of love, with all performers and organisers contributing their time and effort for free. It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to run future events along the same lines and, even if I could, I am keen to to find a way of valuing performers’ contributions. With this in mind, I’ve been exploring different options for funding Roots of Reggae. So far this has involved looking into what grants and other sources of support are on offer for social projects. I’ll let you know how I get on.

If anyone has suggestions for grants I could apply for or innovative ideas for how we might fund future Roots of Reggae events, please do let me know at therootsofreggae@gmail.com or @RootsofReggae.

Same song, different beat

I don’t want to give too much away yet but about plans for future Roots of Reggae events but I am pleased to say I’ve already had some good follow-up discussions with the Ritzy Brixton and a number of the performers from last month’s event about what we might be able to organise in 2012. Right now, I’m thinking about how we can continue to offer further big music events alongside more compact, focused sessions based around a specific musical theme or activity.

I’ll return to this thinking in coming weeks  but, in  the mean time, if you have any ideas for Roots of Reggae in 2012, please do let me know at therootsofreggae@gmail.com or @RootsofReggae.

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