Roots of Reggae: keep on dubbing

My self-esteem was at an all-time high after I saw this...

In true New Year’s Resolution-style, I thought I would write this post today and not tomorrow so that I can say I’ve kept the promise I made to myself to blog more regularly on all things Roots of Reggae-related.  From a distance at least three new posts in January looks a lot better than two in January and one in February. That’s not to say I haven’t got plenty of good things to report. Quite the opposite in fact. Here’s a look back and what’s happening and an early heads-up on things you NEED to get involved with going forward.

Funding future Roots of Reggae events

Last time I talked about the prescience of the Wu-Tang Clan’s song C.R.E.A.M. to where Roots of Reggae is right now. I’m pleased to say I’ve taken my first step to funding future Roots of Reggae events by applying for funding from UnLtd, a charity whose mission is to support social entrepreneurs – people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better. An award from UnLtd would give me the funds I need to pay volunteers’ expenses and cover other costs of putting on events. I won’t hear whether I’ve been successful in my bid until early March. In the mean time, I am continuing to explore other funding options.

As ever, if you have any good ideas for funding Roots of Reggae could apply for, please do get in touch by email or on Twitter @RootsofReggae.

Internationally known and locally respected (pts 1 + 2)

There’s no easy way of saying this without sounding big headed so I’ll just go ahead and get it over with. Last week I got a sneak-peak at what it must feel like to be famous when I saw that I had been featured on the CITZN website under the ego-boosting headline: People Making Things Better: Francis Clarke. CITZN is a new organisation building a simple platform for organisations to crowd sourcesolutions to social issues – and engage with people who want to help – by challenging the public to share their best ideas.

While it is a little embarrassing to see your name up on a website I am pleased Roots of Reggae is being recognised as the special project it is. Along with the prize I received from Hub King’s Cross and Simpl, I am hopeful all this publicity and goodwill for Roots of Reggae will help the project attract the funding it needs to continue to develop.

Michael Arkk's excellent plan for a Heritage of Ska festival this summer

Continuing the praise theme, I was very pleased last week when Laura Mills, Event Manager for the Ritzy Brixton, put me in touch with a gentleman by the name of Michael Arkk. Michael is a man with a plan. That plan is to put on an amazing music festival called Heritage of Ska in Brockwell Park this summer over the weekend of Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th July (put it in your calendars now). Michael was impressed by December’s Roots of Reggae launch event and has asked me to get involved with the festival with a view to showcasing how ska evolved into rocksteady, reggae and (one step) beyond.

It’s still early days for Roots of Reggae’s involvement with the Heritage of Ska festival but I am flattered to have been approached and am looking forward to helping connect Michael with the many talented performers and supports who made last month’s launch event such a success. Looking ahead to later in the year, I hope to be able to link up with other like-minded projects to grow this thing of ours.

Date for your diary: Dub Me Always, Upstairs at the Ritzy Brixton, Weds 8th February, FREE all evening

I spotted this nifty flyer for Dub Me Always when out in Brixton this weekend

Before I go I want to let you know that next Wednesday Upstairs at the Ritzy plays host to Dub Me Always, Brixton’s longest running reggae night. Your host for the evening is David Katz, biographer to reggae pioneer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and a man with an envious collection of rare dub and reggae vinyl. If you like the sound of vintage reggae sounds in a chilled cafe-bar environment then I suggest you get yourself along next week and every second Wednesday of the month from here on in.  I’ve blogged previously about this unique Brixton institution. You can check out what I had to say by clicking here.


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