Reggae in the Desert celebrates a decade of bringing national acts to the local stage during the 10th annual festival on Saturday, June 11 at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway. Freddie McGregor, Mykal Rose, Don Carlos, Junior Reid, Michael Black, Detour Posse, Reggae Angels and Reggae in the Desert staple DJ Rhamma adds to years of impressive lineups.
Freddie McGregor is a Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer who has been performing for more than 40 years. Influenced by the sounds of Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe and Bob Andy, McGregor has celebrated hits such as “Push Come to Shove,” “Africa Here I Come,” “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely,” “I Was Born a Winner,” “Guantanamera,” “Big Ship and “Lock Dem’ Down.” During his professional career, McGregor has given back to the community in many ways, including producing the RockSteady Meets Reggae concert, which promotes unity in the reggae community; donating to charities throughout the world and managing his own United States- and England-based children’s organizations Big Ship Foundation, Inc. and the Freddie McGregor Children’s Fund, which both provide financial support and services to renovate schools.
Mykal Rose has been recording and performing his brand of militant, hard-core Jamaican music for more than 25 years. In 1984, Rose, along with other members of Black Uhuru, won reggae’s first Grammy award for the album Anthem. After his break from the group, Rose recorded solo singles with producers Sly and Robbie and three albums released in Japan. Today, he tours the United States and Europe and maintains his Jamaican fan base with hit singles on the island and abroad.
Don Carlos was born Euvin Spencer in Jamaica’s Waterhouse district, a hotbed for reggae talents. Carlos started his career in 1973 as an original member of Black Uhuru. In 1978, one year after the release of the group’s groundbreaking debut album Black Sounds of Freedom, he left to pursue a solo career. In 1981, he released his first album Suffering for Negus Roots. He has since released 12 solo albums, including four in 1982. Carlos reunited with Black Uhuru in 1990 with Now, which helped the group recapture its earlier success. The group recorded Iron Storm before Carlos resumed his solo career with Seven Days a Week in 1997. He released Changes (Things in Life) in 2010.
Junior Reid recorded his first single “Speak the Truth” at age 13 during the politically turbulent late ’70s in Kingston, Jamaica. After the release of “Know Myself” in 1981, Reid started the band Voice of Progress, and the band scored a local hit with the single “Mini-Bus Driver” and an album of the same name. Not a stranger to hardship, Reid was present at the shooting death of Hugh Mundell, with whom he recorded his first track as a young teenager. Reid later INSERT d Rose in Black Uhuru and went onto participate in the Grammy Award-nominated Brutal in 1986. Two years later, Reid left the group for broader horizons and went on to record “Stop This Crazy Thing,” a collaboration with Coldcut; “I’m Free,” which he recorded with the Soup Dragons, and “One Blood,” which re-established him at the forefront of the reggae scene.
Michael Black began singing for people in his hometown of Lucca, Jamaica when he was 10 years old. At 17, he moved to Kingston to expand his professional career. He was introduced to the Solid Foundation Band in 1973, and for four years traveled throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, Canada and England. He has performed with Stevie Wonder as well as some of reggae’s biggest artists, including Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. He moved to Chicago in 1982, where he performed and helped young artists get their start. Black moved to Las Vegas in 2005 and began performing and playing with the Jah Guide Band.
Detour Posse has been playing together for 14 years and has backed some of the greatest reggae acts of all time, including Barrington Levi, Eek-a-Mouse, Isaacs, Marcia Griffith, Mr. Vegas, Turbulence, Sean Paul and Bushman.
Reggae Angels began playing mainly in the Bay Area before setting out eight years ago for the western United States, Canada, Hawaii and South America. Along with playing many reggae festivals, the groups has backed international artists such as Carlos, Horace Andy, Rose, Big Youth, The Abyssinians, Edi Fitzroy, Bernard Collins, Carlton and The Shoes, Junior Murvin, Clinton Fearon, Andrew Tosh and Reid. Prolific artists, the musicians of Reggae Angels have recorded 12 CDs. The latest release Balance has been well received, and Make Blessings is near completion.
DJ Rhamma, also known as Suppa Kirk, began emceeing alongside some of Los Angeles’ best deejays more than two decades ago. Hailing from Belize, DJ Rhamma moved to the Las Vegas Valley in 1995 and has played a key role in bringing reggae vibes to the community. He has performed at numerous spots around town and is celebrating his eighth year as a Reggae in the Desert performer.
Blankets for lawn seating are permitted as well as personal bottles of water. Vendors in the Caribbean Islands Vendor Village will have Reggae- and Caribbean-style items, exhibits, food and beverages as well as other fare. Domestic and imported beers will be available. ATMs are now available on site.
Sponsors include Clark County Parks and Recreation, Malibu Rum, Miller Lite, Guinness, the Neon, Miller Genuine Draft, Smirnoff Ice, Red Stripe, Foster’s, 97.1 The Point, The CW Las Vegas and My LV TV.
Doors open at 2 p.m. and the event concludes at 11 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the show. Only cash is accepted at the door for tickets on the day of the show. Children ages 5 or younger are free. All seats are general admission and available on a first-come, first served basis. To purchase tickets, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. For a complete list of performance times and additional information, visit the event website at www.reggaeinthedesert.com, Clark County Parks and Recreation’s website at www.accessclarkcounty.com/parks or call 455-8200. Clark County Parks and Recreation also can be found on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook by visiting http://tinyurl.com/4dfw8ea.