erikaghezzi

Rototom Sunsplash

Rototom is a collective that is devoted to combining music with its cultural contents, by organising live shows that often involve a strong social commitment. Many people know Rototom just for the Sunsplash, although this project started only 4 years later. The history of the collective starts in 1991 thanks to the meeting between four people united by strong feelings, love for music and cultural peace value. Back in 1994, few people would have ever imagined that such an event, conceived for a niche audience, would become so big. Today Rototom Sunsplash, even without large sponsorship and adequate public funds, has grown so much that it is considered one of the most massive and important festivals in the world.

The secret to its success is not only due to a re-birth of the general interest in reggae music, but also to a format and context that is appreciated by the people. The result is an event that stimulates the interests of a diverse public that goes beyond the simple matters of musical tastes. Nowadays, people who listen to reggae music and who come to Sunsplash are fascinated by a lifestyle and a means of connecting with others that focuses on peace, tolerance, respect, solidarity, brotherhood, and nonviolence. It is this unique and valuable social context that has led to the explosion of the “Sunsplash phenomenon,” which has been reviewed, studied, and explained by groups ranging from the media to university students as a significant cultural event, much more than just a simple musical experience.

For years the association insisted on the concept of “meeting,” extending the duration of the festival to facilitate moments of socialization, as well as increasing the quantity and quality of side-events such as conferences, debates, meetings, workshops, movies, and therapies for general well-being. And every year, just like magic, a little city with no written rules is born. Here you can easily become friends with your neighbours. Courtesy is the rule, and spontaneous solidarity and exchanges of kindness are abundant. Instead of mistrust for those who are “different,” people show curiosity and the will to understand. Everyone, at least for one week, trusts in each other, opens themselves, and lives in peace. This is some sort of “parallel world”, created by the good will of all who are present.

This is the most important aspect of the festival: it’s not “who’s playing on stage” that really matters, but rather the experience of being there and living these emotions and values together, and listening to the music that, above all, addresses what we believe in. And that’s the essence of reggae music. This is why the suggestion is to experience and read the Sunsplash in this way. Respect your neighbour, make the effort to be open to meet other people with trust and good vibes. Let’s try to create a new world, starting from ourselves-- from what’s inside us. What happens during the days of the festival can also happen after “our Sunsplash” has ended; what we carry inside can affect who’s around us and last for a lifetime.

We just have to truly believe in it!

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