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Rod Hallett President International Touring AEG Live Takes Jamaica 50 Celebrations to London's 02 Arena

Rod Hallett
He was instrumental in developing the Michael Jackson comeback tour in London's 02 and was finalizing details for those 50 sold out-shows at the time of the late pop icon's untimely death; Rod Hallett President of International Touring at AEG Live recently visited  Jamaica to launch a project close to the British music industry veteran's heart.  According to Harlett (the local news reported), he and his team have assembled, "the most powerful reggae bill seen in England."  He is the main man behind the July 25 to August 6 extravaganza showcasing Jamaican pop culture at the London 02 Arena.   For Harlett, who started his career as a manager/booking agent for top reggae acts such as Tappa Zukie and Burning Spear, the show goes beyond business. "It's a personal thing for me.  When I hear Jamaica was celebrating it's 50th anniversary I said let's do something here,"  he told the Jamaica Observer. The country's music film, folklore and lifestyle will be forefront as well as exhibition on the work of reggae legend, Bob Marley.  The event takes place during the London Olympics.

Marcia Griffiths & Freddie McGregor
The cast is built around several artistes who hit the British pop charts during the 1960s and 1970s. They include singers Jimmy Cliff, Max Romeo, Junior Murvin, Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths and Freddy McGregor; producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Musicians Ernie Ranglin, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare and old school deejays U Roy and Big Youth.

Damian "Junior Gong' Marley, Tarrus Riley, Morgan Herritage and Shaggy are some of the contempory acts scheduled to perform. Dub poet Mutabaruka and the No-Maddz Band are also part of a diverse card.

While music is the event's dominant theme, as many as 12 Jamaican films will be shown at the venue's Vu Cinema. Several Jamaican plays will also be shown.

"Our whole plan was to make this celebration of Jamaican culture, not just music," Hallett said. 

Located in south east London, the 02 Area is a multi-faceted indoor arena that has featured the biggest names in pop music including Bon Jovi. The area hosting the reggae show has a seating capacity of 2500.

It was reggae music that first drew Rod Hallett to Jamaican culture in the early 1970s. Born in Sussex, south England, he said he was blown away by The Wailers' 1973 album, Catch a Fire, and began collecting reggae records as a teenager.