Copeland Forbes on the impact of COVID-19 on the reggae music industry
by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Music industry veteran Copeland Forbes believes it will be more than a year before the Jamaican reggae product recovers from the fallout from the coronavirus.
He made the ominous prediction with the uncertainty surrounding European summer festivals, which have provided solid compensation for many Jamaican artists over the years.
Forbes, who has booked reggae tours for more than 40 years, said the postponement / cancellation of events like Summer Jam in Germany and Rototom in Spain, due to the coronavirus, has worse consequences for the reggae artist than the consequences of September 11.
“September 11 was different because it mainly affected New York and the United States. It affects the world! exclaimed Forbes. “Believe me, no festival will be held this year. It will take a year for things to get back to normal.
The promoters of several of the major events in Europe have taken a cautious approach as the coronavirus ravages this continent. Germany, Spain, France and Italy, which host some of the shows, have been the hardest hit, with thousands of deaths reported.
Most of the promoters haven’t officially announced any cancellations, but Forbes says they’re unlikely to continue their events. He pointed out that groups like Kabaka Pyramid and Protoje were canceling tours in Europe and North America, to strengthen his argument.
The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and rural Pennsylvania were carried out by Muslim terrorists. In its wake, the reggae industry took a beating with many Rastafarian artists targeted at US and European airports for wearing beards and scarves similar to Muslims.
Since then, Europe has overtaken the United States as the largest reggae market, with most countries hosting a festival here featuring Jamaican artists.
Best of the best in Miami, Beres Hammond’s Love and Harmony Cruise and the California Roots Music and Arts Festival, are some of the major events canceled or postponed in the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak.