June 30, 2009

Reggae acts dropped from San Diego fair

The San Diego, Calif., County Fair has dropped its annual reggae festival due to scheduling problems, officials say.

Linda Zweig, a Del Mar Fairgrounds spokeswoman, told Tuesday's San Diego Union-Tribune the reggae fest had been eliminated from the fair after scheduling problems with the promoters. But reggae fans and performers say they're being singled out because of complaints about marijuana smoking at last year's event, which featured Ziggy Marley.

Despite repeated requests by the Union-Tribune, Zweig couldn't name any reggae artists who were contacted with offers to perform at this year's San Diego County Fair.

I called them to give them the lineup and work with them, and they said they weren't having reggae this year, Makeda Dread Cheatom, a San Diego reggae promoter and founder of the World Beat Center. Nobody ever talked to me, and I book a lot of the acts.

The fair instituted new rules after Marley's all-ages performance last year, restricting reggae shows to adults 21 and older and requiring strict security measures that could include pat-down searches, the newspaper said.