One of reggae music's most soulful and most recongizable singers, Freddie McGregor has been gifting his incredible voice to world for over five decades. Appropriately dubbed “Little Freddie McGregor” when he started singing in 1963 at just 7 years old, backing up ska duo The Clarendonians and recording for the Sir Coxsone Dodd's legendary Studio One label. McGregor stayed with Studio One through the 70s as a session drummer and a backup singer, honing his vocal gifts.
In 1975 McGregor converted to Rastafarianism which had a profound affect on the music he was creating. Songs like “Walls of Jericho,” “Bobby Babylon,” “Rastaman Camp,” and “Zion Chant,” to name a few, showed off his new, more politically-charged direction, adding to his already formidable reputation as a romantic crooner. This change in tone was welcomed by the public and his profile quickly began rising. In 1981, McGregor rose to the front of the reggae consciousness with the release of “Big Ship,” his most beloved and enduring hits. McGregor's late career has been the mark of a true star, rarely succumbing to the weariness of a long-traveled veteran. Critically and commercially successful releases like Di Captain (2013) and True To My Roots (2016) have kept McGregor in the spotlight as he continues to travel the globe, singing at shows and major festivals for adoring reggae lovers everywhere.
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Fri. June 22nd 4pm - 10pm Reg. advance - $35
Forged in the fires of social activism and musical passion, OZOMATLI is one of the west coast's greatest musical treasures. Their unique blend of Latin rhythms like cumbia and salsa, hip-hop, jazz and funk has made them a staple of festivals around the world, but surprisingly never the Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival. But that all changes in 2018 as these west coast titans finally bring their high-energy, phenomenally engaging stage show back to Victoria's Inner Harbour. They'll be joined by longtime friend and collaborator, Chali 2na. A founding member of both Ozomatli and the mighty Jurassic 5, 2na brings an electric stage presence and obviously deep love of music wherever he goes.
From west coasts legends to a Jamaican titan, Freddie Mcgregor, one of reggae music's most legendary and enduring vocalists will be gracing our main stage for the first time this night as well. The voice behind some of reggae's best-known tracks like "Big Ship" and "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely," McGregor has been treating ears to his otherworldly voice since he started recording for the legendary Studio One when he was just seven years old. A reggae legend under the Victoria sunset before an Ozo dance party...honestly, what could be better?
Well, maybe a little bit of hip-hop history to add some street flavour. The Ready to Rock Crew is one of hip-hop's most legendary crews, tending the pillars of hip-hop - DJing, MCing, B-boying and graffiti - since 1982. The crew has grown and morphed over the years, with chapters popping up in Paris and Toronto, as hip-hop has only increased in relevance and influence over time. The homie QUE ROCK reflects the aesthetic of his adopted crew, working hard in all areas of hip-hop culture. Infusing the hip-hop culture he loves with his elements of his traditional Anishnawbe values, Que Rock has created something completely unique in the world of hip-hop and we're so proud to present his work on our stage for the first time.
Rounding out this genre-smashing party are two close friends of the Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival, GANJO BASSMAN and TANK GYAL. Recently landed to the west coast from Mexico, songwriter/vocalist/producer Ganjo Bassman has quickly made a name for himself with his signature "rock-reggae-hop." The mix of grunge guitars, popping basslines and hip-hop beats, all wrapped up in a reggae aesthetic has been quickly winning over our Island Massive, including a highlight performance opening for Bermuda legend Collie Buddz this past December. And what would a Ska & Reggae Festival be without the mighty Tank Gyal? Creator of Vancouver's infamous "Thursday Ting" and one of the most knowledgable DJs around, Tank Gyal is a Vancouver reggae institution unto herself. She'll be holding it down, keeping it groovy in between sets with the finest in dancehall/reggae/dub tunes.