Pringle, known in his native Negril as ‘Kubba’, started the Bob Marley Birthday Bash in that tourist town in 1991, two years after returning to Jamaica permanently.
This year’s event takes place February 1-6 at his MXIII venue in Negril. Previously, the birthday bash was held over four days. Pringle says the expansion is a reflection of its growth and a renewed effort to rename Negril’s west end One Love Drive.
Seven years ago, Pringle and fellow businessmen started the Negril Cluster to revive interest in one of their town’s most popular enclaves. One Love Drive, they argue, would be a fitting name change.
“We think it would be a better marketing strategy for the area, seeing that it attracts so many tourists,” said Pringle. The week of shows begins with Tribute Night, followed by Punky Reggae Party, a Rastafari Nyabinghi Presentation, Icons of Reggae, Bands Festival and the Bob Marley Birthday One Love Celebration which concludes activities.
Marcia Griffiths, Luciano, Kenyatta Hill, Hezron and The Gladiators featuring Droop Lion are some of the artistes on the show which also has a Canadian flavour. Eight reggae acts from Canada comprise the ‘Canadian Contingency’ who are scheduled to perform throughout the week.
Pringle says he migrated to the United States in 1972.
It was there that he discovered the teachings of black conscious leaders Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. He also tuned in to Marley who he discovered was much more than an entertainer. “Listening to him was like going to the drug store for a prescription for an ailment.
Bob’s music is uplifting,” Pringle said. When he moved back to Jamaica, Pringle got into the leisure industry by establishing MXIII, which hosts a number of live shows.
The inaugural Bob Marley Birthday Bash was headlined by the I Three, Marley’s harmony group, and deejay Tiger.
This year, for the first time, the event is being sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board with the Jamaica Observer as co-sponsors.