Written by Patricia Meschino for Billboard
Reggae/dancehall star Buju Banton will perform his first concert following his release from prison on March 16, 2019 at the National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica. Banton and his 10-piece Shiloh Band will perform a 90-minute set at the Long Walk to Freedom concert, presented by Miami-based Best of the Best Productions and Kingston’s Solid Agency. Joseph “Joey Budafuco” Louis of Rockers Island Entertainment, the promoters of Miami’s annual reggae concert extravaganza Best of the Best, and XO Management shared the details exclusively with Billboard in a recent phone conversation from Jamaica.
The Jamaica concert will be the first performance for Banton, 45, who spent nearly eight years at the McRae Correctional Institution in Georgia, since headlining the Buju Banton and Friends Before The Dawn event at Miami’s Bayfront Park Amphitheater on Jan. 16, 2011. Banton’s Miami concert, presented by Rockers Island Entertainment, notably took place while Banton was out on bail after spending 11 months behind bars. The event attracted over 10,000 patrons with an additional 360,000 watching the live stream, according to Dianne Bissoon, former vp of TV and Entertainment LIME TV, the concert’s streaming partner. In Dec. 2009, Buju, born Mark Anthony Myrie, was arrested at his Tamarac, Florida home for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine; he posted bail with the help of his friend Stephen Marley who put up his Miami home as collateral. Stephen and younger brother Damian Marley were a part of the Miami concert’s stellar reggae lineup, which also included dancehall superstars Sean Paul and Shaggy, singers Tarrus Riley and Michael Rose, longstanding Buju collaborators Wayne Wonder and Marcia Griffiths, with a brief appearance by DJ Khaled.