This originally ran in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1992.

All star lineup to play Riverport next Friday

The Reggae Sunsplash has been a major musical event since the mid-70's. This coming August, over 70 of reggae's biggest stars will perform during this year's six day festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica. A mini-version of this annual musical happening is now on the road in the States, with six outstanding artists scheduled for a July 3rd show at the Riverport Amphitheatre.

This will, without a doubt, be the reggae event of the year, as John Holt, Papa San, SKOOL, Aswad, Lucky Dube, and Barrington Levy will bring to St. Louis some of the best that reggae music has to offer. Also on hand to entertain the crowd is the seasoned "voice" of Sunsplash, master of ceremonies, Tommy Cowan.

In a recent telephone interview discussing the tour (over 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada in a two month period), Barrington Levy explained, in his Jamaican accent, that it began in Hawaii in late May. "The crowds have been nice, mon. We've had good receptions and the people have been very happy."

Levy went on to reveal that the concert will consist of two sets, and that he will be "closing the first one. SKOOL...these guys are real professionals. They've been playing for over 15 years - maybe 20. They're wicked. John Holt will open, then Papa San, then myself, with SKOOL backing each of us. Then Lucky Dube will play with his band and Aswad will finish the show."

During Levy's set, be ready to hear some of his classics, as well as material from his latest release, "Turning Point." And he says to look for Papa San to "definitely join me on my songs where I've had some DJ's. It'll be wicked, mon."

Although Levy - as well as each of the other performers - are extremely popular in Jamaica, they're obviously lesser known in America.

"I don't think I have a strong enough name yet to go on my own," Levy disclosed. "What this tour is about for me is to, like, show people that Barrington Levy is around, and maybe after people see me, then I'll be able to headline on my own."

That obviously holds true for the others, as each deserves the recognition.

John Holt is the veteran of the bunch, since his days as lead singer of the Paragons in the 60's. His songs have been covered by such artists as Blondie ("The Tide is High") and UB40 ("Wear You to the Ball"). This reggae legend has had a staggering forty-one number one singles in Jamaica.

Papa San is an up-and-coming star, currently the #1 DJ, or rapper, in Jamaica. This 24 year old has been around since the mid-80's, and will definitely offer a fast-paced set. He's an enigmatic performer, and will be supporting his latest release, "Rough Cut."

Barrington Levy, as was mentioned, will close the first set. He's currently at the peak of his career, and the power and smoothness of his voice will surely score him legions of new fans. His appearance alone is worth the price of admission.

Lucky Dube is an African superstar who has been touted as the "next" Bob Marley. This phenomenal performer (complete with choreographed Zulu steps by his three female vocalists) and his band, The Slaves, should totally mesmerize the audience with their smooth, hypnotic reggae.

Last on this all star bill is Aswad, a British reggae band who's been releasing quality material since 1976. In fact, their 1988 hit, "Don't Turn Around," has recently been covered by Neil Diamond. This trio plays in a variety of styles (dancehall, dub, roots), and should definitely round out the evening with some powerful vibes.

It is no understatement to say that each of these artists is talented enough to headline on their own. To have them all together, playing four hours of almost non-stop reggae, should make for quite a memorable evening.

This major reggae event will kick off the holiday weekend at 7 p.m. sharp. Make sure you don't miss it, as Reggae Sunsplash is sure to bring an authentic taste of Jamaica to the Gateway City.