by The People’s Minister of Information JR
On Sept. 19-20, 2015, The seventh annual One Love One Heart Reggae Music Festival will be going down at Camp Pollock in Sacramento, featuring headliners Everton Blender, Big Mountain, Pato Baton, Sister Carol, Pablo Moses and more. This is one of my favorite Reggae festivals in Northern California, and it is organized by one of my favorite people in the Reggae community, Denise Carter, the One Love One Heart Reggae Festival founder and director.
That is who we will be talking to in this exclusive Q&A. Check her out in her own words.
M.O.I. JR: How did the One Love One Heart Reggae Festival start? When?
Denise Carter: The One Love One Heart Reggae Festival started seven years ago in the Discovery Park picnic section. It was me, some bands, and Irie Dole. It was to bring recognition to great bands that had never been given the chance by promoters.
M.O.I. JR: Most of the Reggae festivals are in upper Northern California. What made you want to put yours in Sacramento?
Denise Carter: Sacramento is the most culturally diverse city in the U.S. – but no culture. We are giving the people a different side of culture that everyone knows about because everyone knows Bob Marley, but no one really knows the culture behind the music.
M.O.I. JR: Who are some of the artists who are performing this year? Why did you pick some of the headliners that you did?
Denise Carter: Pato Baton, Everton Blender, Sister Carol, BIG MOUNTAIN. Big Mountain goes back to the mid-80s with “Baby I Love Your Way,” “Touch My Light,” the original Cali Roots sound.
Pato is another vet in this game who comes with brotherly love in his lyrics and a message. He’s an awesome artist to watch.
Sister Carol has the story of her nephew Eho, who lived here in Sac. He was a teacher to one of my kids and was killed last year, tragically by a robber; he was a young brother. She is also a powerhouse of an artist.
M.O.I. JR: What are some of the struggles surrounding being a Black woman and running a major Reggae festival?
Denise Carter: Wow, do you really have time for this one? I could go for hours. It’s been a struggle, and the struggle continues.
I was told that I could not do this festival because 1) I am a woman and 2) I am a Black woman and no one is going to sponsor me, so we have had little to no sponsors. Our true honest sponsor has been Jah Almighty paving the way for me to make this happen – and the fans.
The fans are loyal and believe in this movement that is growing and growing, and I could not do this without them either. The city of Sacramento was standing behind me this year, then decided at the last minute to pull the financial support because of others that have called themselves Reggae that were not and tried to be like a drug festival.
They compared me to this first year festival even though I am seven years in the game. The struggle continues.
M.O.I. JR: What do you hope people get out of the One Love One Heart Reggae Festival?
Denise Carter: Family, love, trueness of unity. We have had people who have met at One Love now getting married. People were proposed to at One Love. I consider the One Love like a family reunion, and each year our family grows. It’s a beautiful experience.
M.O.I. JR: What have some of the highlights been over the years?
Denise Carter: Camping for the people who have never experienced camping right here, in Sacramento, experiencing the outdoors in such a serious vibe, on the river. People who only know Bob Marley get a chance to hear and experience Reggae music in the atmosphere.
M.O.I. JR: Why did you change venues from last year?
Denise Carter: State and county issues with venue repairs. Trust me. Mosquitoes and all, I miss the old venue.
M.O.I. JR: Who are some of the local and regional acts that will be performing?
Denise Carter: Irae Divine, King Hopeton, Sister I-Live, Reggae Angeles, Ark Aingelle, Black Lung, Pacific Vibrations etc.
M.O.I. JR: How could people get more information?
Denise Carter: www.oneloveoneheartreggaefestival.weebly.com. Give thanks.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.