One Love Festival: Reggae Royalty Comes To Essex

Having begun life in 2008 in tribute to Bob Marley's famous performance thirty years previously, One Love Festival has swiftly evolved into the UK's biggest and best reggae and dub festival.
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Having begun life in 2008 in tribute to Bob Marley's famous performance thirty years previously, One Love Festival has swiftly evolved into the UK's biggest and best reggae and dub festival.

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Whatever the music, style or setting, the underlying message that each and every festival should have at its core is one of love, tolerance and peace. That realisation can come at any time, whether you're in the midst of a crowd at the main stage, sheltering from the relentless rain in your tent or swigging from a can around the camp fire. It is the realisation that this is what it's all about – the friends, the music, the sun, the connections. The love.

That is a message that Bob Marley held true to his heart. On the 22nd of April 1978, Kingston, Jamaica, Bob Marley joined the hands of two feuding political leaders, live and on stage in front of thousands of people, during a performance of 'Jammin'. It showed the power that only music can have – the power to unite people where other means have failed.

That day back in 1978 saw reggae royalty on show, including Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Jacob Miller and Beres Hammond.

The weekend of the 16th to the 18th of August this summer will also see reggae royalty on show as One Love sets up camp in Upminster, Essex.

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Kicking things off on the Friday night will be the much-loved David Rodigan, a man whose passion for reggae has made him something of an oracle on the subject, Tottenham's hard hitting junglist legend Congo Natty and his North London compatriot General Levy, another pioneer who grabbed jungle by the neck and thrust it kicking and screaming into the limelight.

Saturday will see two real legends of reggae take to the main stage, with U Roy and Black Uhuru ready to show the youngsters that grandfathers can still groove. U Roy's distinctive yet classic riddims need no introduction, with his deeply spiritual brand of reggae, laden with throbbing dubs. He is ably assisted by Black Uhuru, a group who broke down barriers to win a Grammy Award in 1985. Despite having witnessed many changes over the years, the soul-influenced Kingstonians have managed to maintain their popularity whilst exploring some of the darker aspects of life. Their politically fuelled music blends modern digitalism with traditional roots reggae, something to please both young and old.

Bringing the festival to a close will be British dub artists Zion Train, showing the diversity and willing experimentalism of reggae, as well as breakbeat and dnb veteran Ray Keith and the ambient electronica of the Orb Sound System.

But this isn't just about the headliners. Sprawled about the green pleasantry of Damyn's Hall Aerodrome will be the Dub Shack, hosting the likes of the Channel One Sound System, Iration Steppas and Aba Shanti, Papa Levi's Saxon Sound Marquee, the intimate Root Lab and Soul Adventure stages and of course the Lively Up Yourself Stage, with Robbo Ranx, Serial Killaz and the Unity Hi Fi Crew.

All in all, One Love is an enriching festival, one that leaves you feeling a whole lot better than when you arrived. The chilled vibes, lush greenery and relaxed family atmosphere will make for a non-miss weekend.