The History

of Soundclash

Jun 21, 2019

The ultimate music battle

We’re getting pretty hyped to celebrate everything we love so much about Caribbean music and rum at our Summer Soundclash festival.

The History of Soundclash

Music’s in our soul and we love getting lost in the sounds of island life – each and every one of them!

Our Soundclash festival pays tribute to the sound clash culture of Jamaica, which originated on the streets of Kingston in the late 1950s. Few people could afford records, so street parties were a great way to hear new music. This put owners of portable sound systems, in a position of influence and status.

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.

Over time, this 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’ 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 to places like London and the US, becoming an integral part of music culture there and a huge influence on a wide range of music genres.

Summer Sound Clash Festival

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