For the love of man 

First Summer Splash Reggae Fest unites musicians, turntablists

What: Summer Splash Reggae Festival

When: Sunday, July 2

Where: Buffalo Bill’s

Tickets: $9

Jana Marie Dupuis’s travels took her through Europe, North America and Africa where she was exposed to both the incredible joys of life, but also extreme poverty, sadness, racism and death.

"Why was the Creator letting this happen?" she asked herself, and what could she do other than ponder these problems over and over again to no avail.

The classical musician looked inside and found a voice, a gift that could be used to help. With little money to spare, Dupuis discovered her true wealth was the gift of music, and guided by the in-kind desires of Kostas Lymbertos, most famously known around these parts as Kostaman, the society Bands Against Hunger was created. And through a music genre that grew out of violent protests and tensions, the first annual Summer Splash Reggae Festival was created, showcasing Whistler’s reggae talent on both mic and turntable. A benefit festival takes place Sunday, July 2 at Buffalo Bill’s.

"This is what Bands Against Hunger is all about: people sharing their gift of music to raise awareness and funds for humanitarian causes," Dupuis said.

Proceeds from this year’s festival benefit The Whistler Food Bank, The Psoriasis Society of Canada and struggles in Africa.

"Every single one of us in this world deserves to receive necessities such as food, clean water, clothing, shelter, clean air, education, peace of mind, freedom, love," Dupuis said. "As Bob Marley showed through his powerful lyrics and deliverance of his music that reggae expresses hopes for respect, love, peace, self-identity, spiritual, for the stop of poverty, the stop of social and political injustice."

True to her word, the music is quoted as "coming from the people" and from the people of Whistler, the reggae fest will occur. The lineup includes bands such as Redeye, Kostaman and Dub Empire along with DJs Phroh, Tone and Buddha. The evening also includes a drum circle led by Erin and So Lovely Solah, so don’t forget your skins. As well, a slide show of African children will be presented by Anastasia Chomlack and friends.

"Reggae music has become very important in my world," Dupuis said. "I have seen in just two years such a huge growth of musicians and likeminded people that appreciate this genre of music."

When Dupuis arrived in Whistler, Big Up was the only reggae band around town. The number of bands playing reggae has now multiplied by four, and there are numerous reggae turntablists.

While reggae lyrics bring social messages to mind, the music itself speaks to the soul; the one drop beat which emphasizes the second beat keeps people swaying and grooving, spiraling people into a sunny warm place.

"The positive vibe you get from reggae music keeps you alive and helps you to set yourself and others free," Dupuis said. "I hope one day we can look at the world and say, ‘My God, we have done it. We have destroyed poverty, hate, war, anger and pain with our gift of love.’ I truly believe we can do this and I know Bands Against Hunger will help to create awareness… Together we are making a difference."

Tickets for the love-in are $9. Doors at 8 p.m.

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