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Let there be Peace: Rototom Sunsplash is coming

By August 13, 2015Articles
Rototom Sunsplash-Island Stage Magazine

The festival that this year has the theme ‘Peace R(evol)ution’, has increased its presales by 10% to bring people from 73 countries from different continents.

The lineup includes amazing acts like that of Major Lazer, responsible for the hit of the summer ‘Lean On’, SOJA from the US or the triple tribute to Marley by the Jamaicans Bunny Wailer, Junior Marvin and the Spaniards Mala Rodríguez, Amparo Sánchez, Roberto Sánchez, Sr. Wilson, el Payoh SoulRebel and Salda Dago.

Besides extending the music programme of stages like the Showcase, the venue will launch new spaces such as Culture Plaza or Jumping, the new stage dedicated to music with black roots and all its modern derivatives.

The objective of the 22nd edition of the Rototom Sunsplash, that will open its doors next Saturday August 15 to shed light and rhythm until August 22, is to create a general rehearsal of peace, meeting and sharing between cultures with active, militant reggae music, with the aim of prolonging the experience beyond the week of the festival. In Benicàssim, where it hopes to keep strengthening its roots, with previsions of passing the mark of 250,000 visitors set in 2014. With a line up filled with attraction, 200 artists in all, from the stars of Jamaican music to one of this season’s bombs world wide: Major Lazer. This year we are more involved with the Spanish and European scene and pay special tribute to Bob Marley on the 70th anniversary of his birth. There have also been changes to the layout of the stages and spaces in the venue to ensure that above all, the festival’s audience can live a singular and enriching experience filled with good vibrations.

And as Rototom always demonstrates through doing, it has brought the meaning of its theme for 2015, “Peace R(evol)ution”, to it music programme, with musicians of known militancy and respect, and to the Social Forum, with different debates related international conflicts and pacifist means of combating them. “Now we have a war in the Ukraine that is very close and dangerous, the problem of intolerance toward immigrants, and that which confronts religions and cultures. The social experiment that one can experience at the festival in which people from different parts of the world live in harmony, is a way of creating awareness so that a culture of peace can later spread, when the audience goes home”, claims the festival’s director, Filippo Giunta.

Rototom SunSplash-Island Stage Magazine

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Multiculturality is a mark of identity for the biggest reggae festival in Europe, as is evident from the presale of tickets to 73 countries on different continents, with Spain, France, UK, Italy, Germany and Switzerland at the head, followed by Northern European countries like Belgium and Denmark. Overall presales for Rototom have gone up 10% from last year, which would lead to believe that this year the festival will surpass its accumulative mark set last year, of over 35,000 visits per day, with previsions of growth for next year: “We are enthusiastic about the opening of the airport in Castellón; every time they announce a new destination we will set up a Launch Party so that the people of the city get to know the festival and can organize their vacations in Benicassim”, the festival’s director announced.

Continuity in Benicassim, with conditions

All the same, the festival’s continuity in Benicassim, where it moved in 2010, is conditioned by whether or not the Rototom can continue to be held, at the latest during the third week of August, given that to move it further back in the calendar “would kill it”, said Giunta: “For four years we have been asking for the festival to be held the first week in July and we make the effort to hold it in the middle of August as we do now, but the end of Augusto r beginning of September, as proposed by the town hall, is impossible, because it would mean that we could not bring Jamaican artists ante European public would not come because everyone is back to work and school”. “We are convinced that the neighbours and businesses of Benicassim want us to stay, and we want to stay because we like it here, but if this problem cannot be resolved we will not have any problems looking for a welcoming place, which would be easier now than when we left Italy in 2010, because the festival hardly generates expenses for the public institutions”, Giunta added.

Exclusive concert by Major Lazer, tribute to Marley and Chambao

When it comes to the music at Rototom 2015, the festival will once again this year pay tribute to the person who contributed most to the internationalization of reggae, Bob Marley, who would have turned 70 last February. To commemorate such an important date Rototom and Middleground, in collaboration with several Spanish artists, will present on Main Stage, August 16, the show “Cantando a Marley”, (Singing to Marley). A unique opportunity to listen to artist who are not strictly reggae, such as Mala Rodríguez, Amparo Sánchez, Roberto Sánchez, Sr. Wilson, Payoh SoulRebel and Salda Dago, all of whom will be accompanied by The Blackstarliners, who have prepared their own versions of the Jamaican icons classics for this special occasion.

Rototom Sunsplash-Island Stage Magazine

It will not be the only tribute to the reggae legend. On Saturday 15, the once guitarist of the Wailers, Junior Marvin, key in the artistic creation of Marley form 1977 and 1981, will be on Main Stage with his own band Junior Marvin & His Wailers. Bunny Wailer’s concert on Monday 17 will close the trio of tributes with a live show with the immortal hits of the Wailers, the band that he founded alongside Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, and of which he is the sole surviving founding member.

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Alongside famous Jamaican artists, such as Super Cat, who will perform his first concert in Europe at Rototom, after a more than 20 year absence; Capleton, Protoje or the once member of the Gladiators Clinton Fearon, the presence of international bands gains ground each year, with the incorporation of artist and groups like Bad Manners Hollie Cook from the UK, the Macedonian Kiril Džajkovski, the New Zealanders Katchafire, the Italians Mellow Mood and SOJA from the US, who will perform one of the most anticipated concerts at the festival.

Beyond the reggae, the range of rhythms this year has opened to include artistic proposals such as that of Major Lazer, the band responsible for the international mega hit “Lean On”, absolute Number 1 on online music platforms such as Spotify or Shazam, and also on radio stations. The trio formed by Diplo, Walshy Fire and Jillionaire have prepared a show in the key of reggae “that promises to be a show in a show”, the festivals director pointed out.

Furthermore Chambao has prepared an ad hoc show for Rototom Sunsplash’s audience, with reggae influences. The performance of the band form Malaga on Main Stage confirms the festival’s bid for Spanish artists, which now are a third of the lineup.

About the Showcase, which has changed location, has notably extended its programming to offer more than ten uninterrupted hours of live music that allows for the inclusion of artists that are not strictly reggae, like Amparo Sánchez or the Brazilian Flavia Coehlo.

Continuing with the new additions, the festival this year has added the Jumping stage, with a lineup that provides for all sounds with black roots, from the origins–afro, soul, r&b and funk- to its most modern expressions, like hip hop, el dubstep, drum&bass and trap, with all it possible variations and mixes imaginable.

A square to meet and debate
The venue this year has a new Culture Square, a space where there will be the debates of the Social Forum and the sessions, screenings and exhibitions of the Reggae Univerity Camp.

Benicassim,  18/08/2014 - Sunsplash 2014 - Foro Social - Photo by Luca Valenta © Rototom 2014

Benicassim, 18/08/2014 – Sunsplash 2014 – Foro Social – Photo by Luca Valenta © Rototom 2014

On the one hand, with the theme “The right to be happy”, the Social Forum will be the stage for more than twenty debates dealing with the most candescent international issues of the moment such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and Europe (TTIP), the conflict that has erupted in the Ukraine, Islamophobia in Europeand the violation of human rights in Guantanamo. Gender violence, the influence of clandestine geo-engineering on climate change, the interests of the pharmaceutical industry in hampering the therapeutic us of cannabis, and manner in which we respond to wars are some more of the issues to be dealt with in this space. Guided by speakers such as the journalist Sami Al-Hajj, prisoner for seven years in Guantanamo, the Tibetan Lama Thubten Wangchen, the political scientist ex-leader of Podemos Juan Carlos Monedero, the lawyer, economist and member of ATTAC France Frédéric Viale, or the president of Amnesty International Spain, Alfonso Sánchez.

Sessions with key artist from the festival, workshops with music producers, film premieres, with seminars to delve into Rastafarian mysticism and to present collaboration projects in Ethiopia, on the other hand complete the wealth of Reggae University Camp activities on offer. An area that includes the Reggae University that will once again this year address the past, present and future of reggae with key artist like Super Cat, Bunny Wailer and The Pioneers. The session will discuss diverse topics such as the evolution of dancehall from roots reggae, the initial development of reggae and its power to cross physical and social borders or the complex situation of the contemporary art scene in Jamaica.

The Reggae University will also display a collective exhibition with the works of nine young Jamaican artists. For its part the Film Festival, dedicated to promoting the most recent audio visual productions, will celebrate its third edition with the premiere of eight documentaries form France, Germany, Israel, Jamaica and the US.

Furthermore the House of Rastafari, the space dedicated to the mysticism related to reggae, with several seminars given by the Jamaican elder Ras Flako.

Benicassim,  20/08/2014 - Sunsplash 2014 - CULTURA / COLOR - Photo by Luca d'Agostino © Rototom 2014

Benicassim, 20/08/2014 – Sunsplash 2014 – CULTURA / COLOR – Photo by Luca d’Agostino © Rototom 2014


More than a festival
The restaurant area of the festival has also extended its ability to provide guests to try recipes from around the world with a bigger space where you can try traditional Oriental, Ethiopian, South American, Norman, French and Mediterranean dishes

As a part of the festival’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact this year, we have provided the restaurant area with re-useable glasses. For just one euro more, when buying your drink you can get a glass that you can either reuse or return it and get your euro back.

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