Peer to Peer with Jamaican Dave – Philly’s Reggae Promo King!

A central figure in the Reggae landscape in Philadelphia is Jamaican Dave.  Having been a part of the city’s most significant Reggae moments, and as an Ambassador of the culture, we thought it important to highlight him … he is Philadelphia’s Reggae promo King afterall.

VP:  Is it fair to say that you are Philadelphia’s self-appointed reggae promo king?

JD:  I’ll start with the saying, “So a man sow, so shall he reap,” and if I am being judged on the merits of my hard work, then Reggae’s self-appointed Promo King of Philadelphia is a title I’ll take with honor. [But] there are so many people here on different levels that have contributed to the foundation.  As far as JDCP is concerned, we’re just a small part of a big picture.

VP:  How did you get into the promotions / booking biz?

JD:  Growing up in Jamaica, I watched my grandfather build a family business. That gave me my first exposure to entrepreneurship.  When I came to America and started DJing in the clubs, I was disappointed by what passed as reggae / world music. The whole concept was to take some guy with dreads and put him in a corner with a mic and an umbrella on a sunny day and call that reggae / World music.

I’m sure you’ve seen it before. That’s what inspired me to start doing shows at Brazi restaurant and Katmandu nightclub back in 1998. Before coming to the USA I had an internship at the Epiphany Night Club in new Kingston; and sparkles Sounds system with Bobby Wong.  I spent a few years learning from Wee Pow and Rory at stone love HQ  and running the famed ” Jamaica Me Crazy” Nightclub in Ohio Rios at the now closed Jamaican Grande hotel.

VP:  What Was your first notable Project?

JD:  There has been so much over the years but the one that stands out the most, I would say, was been a part of Sean Paul’s (Give the Light) first US tour with Jerome Hamilton back in the early 2002’s. We did shows with Sean in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Delaware, and all were sold out to massive crowds.

VP:  What was your first breakthrough?

JD:  This one has to be the Beres Hammond and Buju Banton tour back in the summer of1999 at the Pegasus Night Club with Peter Shwarts from the William-Morris booking Agency and Michael Clark, Philadelphia’s legendary Reggae venue owner. The Other one that comes to mind was the Jimmy Cliff / Black Uhuru reunion tour with Sly and Robbie back in the Fall of 1999 at the Electric Factory venue With Patrick Linsay, Sly and Robbie’s Manager. Both shows sold out, and they set the part for my newly found productions / event company.

VP:  What are you working on now?

JD:  At this moment, coming out of covid, we were not sure how to approach the summer of 2022 marketplace, but once we collectively got the call from Beres Hammond and Burning Spear’s camps we put things in place with Live Nation and Ardmore Music Hall.

We knew these were the two shows that would make people come out and hear live Reggae music again. We typically do a yearly summer festival called “Reggae In The Park,” but we just didn’t have the time to plan it properly for 2022 and thought Burning Spear coming out of retirement for what many are saying could be his final tour and Beres deciding to hit the road was perfect for replacing your festival for this summer.

Stream New Dancehall 2022 on Spotify