Louie Grant, VP of New York based Irie Jam Media, co-producers of Irie Jamboree (North America's premier reggae festival), announced today that the theme for the 2008 Irie Jamboree concert is "celebrating Caribbean athletes representing the region at Beijing '08, the summer Olympics; with a view to honor the legacy of our past Olympians."
"This year we are sending our strongest Track & Field/athletic contingent ever to the games, and I am expecting a good haul of medals from this quality field of athletes," an elated Grant reiterated.
"Great Caribbean Olympians such as Arthur Wint, Herb McKinley, Donald Quarrie, Hasley Crawford, Dennis Johnson, Lenox Miller, Merlene Ottey, Bertland Cameron, Ana Quiro, Javier Sotomayor, Anier Garcia, Debbie Ferguson, Otto Boldon, Alberto Juanterino, Deon Hemmings and so many others have advanced our formidable athletic tradition on the international stage. Their legacy ought to be recognized by us, reggae kindred here in the US, particularly during the Labour Day weekend celebrations" Grant noted.
The decision to honour the Caribbean athletes at Irie Jamboree 2008, came on the heels of Usain Bolt's 100m (9.72secs) world record run at the Reebok Grand Prix at Ichan Stadium, in New York on Saturday, May 31 2008, an event that Grant's company, Irie Jam Media has served as Caribbean media partner for the past three years.
"At Irie Jam Media, we have long recognized the synergy created by two indigenous Jamaican products - reggae music and sports. We are very committed to further explore the potential of these two areas towards the sustainable economic development of our beloved island home. Our participation in the Reebok Grand Prix (track & field meet) is testament to our efforts in the melding of these areas. This year, our flagship summer event Irie Jamboree, is themed to celebrate our incredible athletes and to give further credence to our articulated commitment of ensuring that the Caribbean does not miss out on the opportunities created by what is its by birthright" Grant noted.
As another goodwill jester, the VIP and media tents will be named the "Usain 'Lighting' Bolt VIP Tent" and the "Veronica Campbell-Brown Media Booth" to honour Bolt's historic, world record run at the Reebok meet, and for Mrs. Campbell-Brown's consistent performance at the event since its inception. The Art & Craft area at the festival will be named the "Caribbean Olympic Village" in honor of all Caribbean athletes, who will compete at this year's summer Olympics.
Irwine Clare, CEO of Team Jamaica Bickle, an organization that has had a very close association with Irie Jam Media and by extension Irie Jamboree and the Reebok Grand Prix said, "The organizers of Irie jamboree must be commended for their appreciation of the impact of our Caribbean athletes on the world stage and also for incorporating and heralding their achievements in the theme for this year's concert. Being an Olympic year, coupled with the fact that the existing world record for 100 meters was established right here in New York, lends additional rationale and significance to the plans for this year. Team Jamaica Bickle lauds Irie Jamboree for this steadfast support of Caribbean athletics. Lets come out and celebrate our athletes...our ambassador," he said.
Among the reggae acts slated to perform at Irie Jamboree 2008 are Tarrus Riley, Coco Tea, Sizzla, Beenieman, Elephant Man, Serani, Bugle, DeMarco and Hero. More acts are to be announced soon.