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The History of Soundclash

The History of Soundclash

Our SoundClash Festival pays tribute to the Sound Clash culture of Jamaica, which originated on the streets of Kingston in the late 1950s.

Back then, few people could afford records, so street parties were a great way to hear new music. This meant if you owned a portable sound system, you were a great person to know!

Sound system DJs would often be set up close to each other in the street – with music being turned up louder and louder in a friendly attempt to drown out their rivals.

It's these sound systems that inspired our 'speaker walls' which you can find in all our restaurants!


Over time, the competing sounds developed into formal music battles, where sound systems would fight for the crowd’s admiration. The bigger your sound and the better your selection of tracks, the better chance you stood of winning.

The competing crews came to be referred to as ‘sound systems’ themselves and featured local DJs and singers. Pioneers included the likes of Tom the Great Sebastian, Duke Reid’s The Trojan and Count Nick. A crew would have a 'selector' who was in charge of choosing the music played at the battles – they were usually the star of the show.

Moving into the 60s, 70s and 80s, the sound systems just got bigger and bigger and it spread overseas with Jamaican immigrants. Eventually, Sound clash culture became an integral part of music culture in places like London and the US as well as Jamaica, and had a huge influence on a wide range of music genres.

Summer Sound Clash Festival

Inspired by our love for music and the vibrant sounds from across the Caribbean, we're bringing together some amazing live bands and DJs to 5 locations across the UK in July.

Find out more here!

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