UCLA Celebrates 30 Years of the Jazz Reggae Festival

Since ‘86, the ever-popular Jazz Reggae Festival has been enriching Los Angeles music fans with culture and diversity, featuring music from the likes of Ziggy Marley, Jill Scott, the Roots, Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg. On what will be its 30th anniversary, the Jazz Reggae Festival will present a slew of highly respected jazz and reggae artists who will take the stage and jam as concert goers enjoy the music along with a wide array of cultural foods, arts and crafts.

This year, the festival will feature Barrington Levy, Jesse Royal, Bambaata Marley (Bob’s grandchild), The Thelonious Monk Institute Ensemble, Tiffany Gouche, Night Swimmers with Stefan Dismond, Nate Schwartz Jazz Orchestra and a DJ set by QBWOY of Jamaican Gold Sounds.

Produced solely by UCLA students (through Undergraduate Student Association Council’s Cultural Affairs Commission), the festival started in the late ’80s at the UCLA Sunset Canyon Recreation Center with the simple intention of giving student musicians a public forum in which to perform. But the popularity of the event exploded over the years, creating a need for the producers to begin enlisting professional artists as well as the need to move to a larger venue to accommodate all those wanting to attend. The UCLA Intramural Field is where the festival was able to welcome the hundreds of jazz and reggae lovers for two days of music, art (including live interactive painting, sculpture and live graffiti art) and a profusion of culturally rich food from the Los Angeles community’s diverse vendors.

The producers of the show eventually became environmentally conscientious as well. In ‘07, they began printing all of their promotional materials on recycled paper, set up an information booth where attendees can learn more about going green and began powering the stage using only bio-diesel fuel.

However, as it celebrates its 30th year, the festival is moving back to its original home at the UCLA Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Also, traditionally a two-day event, the show will take place for one day only this time around, which is just enough for the fete to achieve its goal of uniting Los Angeles through music.

The 30th Annual Jazz Reggae Festival will play at the UCLA Sunset Canyon Recreation Center May 30. Tickets can be purchased here.