The West Midlands is a strange place for the second wave of ska to have taken root. This Jamaican genre, a precursor to reggae, was typified by speedy off-beat rhythms, blending Caribbean calypso with American R&B, in the late 1950s. But for some reason, when it reemerged two decades later in cities like Coventry and Birmingham, taking influence from punk, it just made sense.
Bands like The Specials, The Selector and The Beat became household names overnight. Now two of these bands will get together for a brand new ska festival in Kings Heath next month. The Selecter featuring Pauline Black and The Beat featuring Ranking Jr will join forces with The 2 Tone Ska Orchestra at the outdoor grounds of the New Irish Centre on August 25.
The 2 Tone Ska Orchestra is a 50-piece ensemble that will provide an end-of-evening performance with a dynamic blend of ska, rocksteady and reggae. Performing such iconic hits as Ghost Town, A Message To You Rudy, Monkey Man, Simmer Down, Wonderful World and many more. It’s rare to see an orchestra of such magnitude performing two-tone and Ska music.
Of course, before then, both ska legends The Beat and The Selector warm up the event. The Selecter will bring a high-energy performance that will have the crowd skanking and dancing to their beloved hits. The Beat featuring Rankin Jr will then take the stage, ready to deliver their signature fusion of ska, punk, reggae, and soul and captivate the audience with their timeless classics and new hits alike.
“We are thrilled to bring together these legendary ska acts for what promises to be an epic night of music and nostalgia,” said organisers. “We can’t wait to bring Birmingham an event of two-tone Ska, a genre with strong roots in the city. The evening will be a celebration of Ska history and a night to remember for all fans.”
Tickets for this massive ska festival are priced at £30 standard and £50 VIP, and are on sale now here.