One Love a 13 year affair with Reggae and Dub culture
One Love Festival is currently the UK’s longest continuously running specialist reggae music festival. It was created in 2008 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Bob Marley’s famous 1978 Peace Concert of the same name. Like the One Love Peace Concert in Jamaica, the message of One Love Festival is one of unity, bringing people together to experience the joys of the human heartbeat that is reggae music. As Bob Marley himself sang, “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright”.
For some 12 years, One Love Festival has been on a nomadic journey to spread this message. It first began in Sussex and has staged memorable events in Essex, Buckinghamshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire and most recently, the Garden of England, Kent. Organiser Dan Wiltshire’s vision is to combine the rural escape and feel of Glastonbury festival with the world’s best live and sound system-based reggae acts. Where before One Love Festival, camping at reggae festivals was more of a European phenomenon, it has now become the norm here in the UK.
Through the last decade One Love has welcomed live performances by reggae greats, both past and present. It has provided a platform for the veterans and instigators of the music, such as Yellowman, John Holt, Frankie Paul, The Twinkle Brothers, Luciano, Freddie McGregor, Dawn Penn, Third World, Lee Scratch Perry and many more. Memorable moments have included talks by super-producer Bunny Lee and Derrick Morgan being crowned “The King Of Ska” in 2017.
Likewise, One Love has been a supporter of the 21st century’s rising stars – Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid, Etana and Alborosie – alongside local bands and emerging talent. Related styles like ska, jungle, drum & bass and soul are given a spotlight.
From its very roots, the festival has always had a strong sound system component. Top sounds such as Coxsone and Youth Promotion have drawn their finest selections in friendly competition. Often the stage and sound system elements combine: when Luciano joined Saxon Sound on the mic after his triumphant Main Stage performance in 2010, it summed up the ethos of the festival perfectly.
As well as multiple stages and sound system tents, One Love offers the holistic reggae
experience. Each year the festival grows organically in terms of production, scope and
vision. One Love is currently developing two special areas: the Rasta Village and the Space
of Love, to give its guests the chance to engage with the culture and community of reggae
beyond the music. A wide range of food, clothing, crafts and cultural stalls cater for global
tastes and dietary requirements.
Above all, One Love Festival is a family affair. Reggae fans of all ages are welcome, in a
relaxed and safe space for everyone. One Love Festival is a melting pot: a multi-cultural,
multi-ethical, free trade and environmentally-friendly event, buzzing with creativity, fun, ideas
and soul. One of the most diverse, interactive and unique festivals in the UK, it means
something deep and different to each person who attends. Everyone leaves the site
experiencing their own exceptional One Love Festival moment and memory.
In a world where borders and divisions are becoming increasingly prevalent, the message of One Love Festival has never been more important. It offers the chance to reach out to others and experience unity in an unspoiled and natural environment. It brings the teachings of Bob Marley to the people and reminds us why uniting for love is the only option. Come and celebrate peace, love and reggae music.