Unlike the global recording industry, which is only now experiencing a rebound from more than ten years of declining revenues, the live music industry has maintained stability, and in some instances annual music festivals have experienced steady growth.

A close examination of the reggae festival circuit in North America reveals the mixed experiences of event promoters. On the one hand, some (mostly new) reggae music festivals, such as Cali Roots and Reggae Rise Up, have experienced continued growth. On the other hand, with the exception of the Austin Reggae Festival, most older more established reggae festivals in North America seem to be struggling.

There are many questions being asked, and maybe even more answers being offered for the inconsistency in the economic fortunes of North American reggae festivals. Are the festival presentation models being used by some promoters now outdated? Are the challenges faced by overseas based reggae performers in securing permits to work in the USA a factor? How much impact is new digital technology having on the marketing strategy of event promoters? We need to dig deep to find solutions.

 Photo credit – © Sista Irie Photography

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