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United Nation of Dub 2013, Report and Interview

United Nation of Dub 2013, Report and Interview

United Nation of Dub 2013, Report and Interview

By on - Photos by Mauro Sindici - Comment

Impressions from the first international Dub festival and interview of the organiser.

United Nation of Dub Weekender (UNOD), a reunion of Sound Systems from all over Europe, took part in Prestatyn the last weekend of March. Not the huge snow storm that affected England that weekend, nor the fact that no one could really guess the strength of the organisers in preparing an event at its first edition, did stop people from all over the world to reach the small beach village in North Wales. Three nights and two days of music filled the holiday park, exclusively hired for the event. Every day the sound system was built again: first night offered by the Mighty Zulu Warrior Jah Shaka, Saturday night by Iration Stepppas, King Earthquake and Kibir La Amlak sound systems and the last night by Channel One, Jah Tubby’s and Young Warrior sound systems.

UNOD 2013

While the UNOD Arena and the Selector’s Arena were filled from early afternoon to late night with djs and selectors from all over Europe, even a pool with live djs playing was opened daily from 12pm to 5pm for all who wanted to relax during daytime. Behind the whole organisation, were two guys from the UK roots/reggae dub label Counteraction. We had the pleasure to meet up with one of them, I-Mitri, who told us how this massive idea came up and became reality:

“UNOD is a concept that started from a radio show, me and Richie Roots, who is a longtime frontman for Vibronics, all based in Leicester, we started a label called Counteraction and through our travels, both collecting records and both meeting new producers, we got involved with a new local station, which is a community radio station called Demon Fm and started playing tunes on the radio and attracted universal audience. From that we started to getting jealous from all this different amazing dances going on around the world. (…) So from the radio station and through our connection in the scene through Vibronics and playing out we thought we should start bringing more sounds back to the city and we started doing promotion, started with local sounds and progressed by bringing bigger international sounds like Iration Steppas, like Aba Shant-I, like Jah Shaka and more and more learned our lessons through it, more and more the show grew, so more and more we understood that in every corner of the world is a pocket of people who are desperately trying to find information on sound system, on tunes, on releases etc. So that let us start thinking about bigger things. You know the whole concept of United Nations of Dub is these different tribes from all over the world coming together based on this one music that unifies them. So everything else just fell in place. Myself I-Mitri, Counteraction and my partner Felis Kontakt, and other big promoters from Leicester sat down and started discussing this wild idea of potentially bringing this things together for the UK in the same sense that we see it around Europe in big festivals say like Rototom Sunsplash, etc. It’s always impressing to see so many UK act on the bill and not have such an event in England, especially centred around sound systems.”

UNOD 2013In order to make the most attend, the month of March seemed to be ideal, a period of the year where there are no other festivals on going. Since most of the dub addicted originally come from the Caribbean or warmer countries such as Italy, France, Spain the choice of organising this reunion in a holiday park, provided with 2-7 beds flats was a very much appreciated one. While also providing own kitchen, was calculated by the organisers, who cared about people’s money to be spent to survive a 3-days-festival and not to complain about restricted food options offered by local food.

What I-Mitri liked the most out of his first experience as a festival organiser, was to see big smiles on the faces of every single person who reached the place. “This is what all this experiment was about bringing all this different ages and cultures together and see what happened. And not a single trouble, not a single fight, not a single complain and a single attitude at all. Everybody vibed up and really feeling each other, that what was really magic and nobody would really know how it would work until the moment everybody came together.”

Moreover, I-Mitri was amazed by the international numbers who reached the venue: “We also had the chance to draw in people who are not just any odd people they are hard core believers in this, whether they are from Mexico, from Brazil, from Lithuania, New Zealand, Italy, Greece, Angola, South Africa, San Francisco, Colorado. We have not counted them yet, but I think France had the bigger numbers, than Italy, Spain, Germany follow and the rest is pickets and pockets from absolutely everywhere in the world. All of this people are the people who were ready to take the chance and to trust us and to book tickets in some far away place miles away and to believe it would be what we said it is, and for a first festival this is hard sometimes. I think the people who managed to reach here are all people who have very strong passion for this music and will take this forward, they will be the messengers on these vibes onwards. And this is the most magical thing about it.”

So the first edition has gone, the next one will be even better, that’s the promise out of a shining I- Mitri at the end of the third day of festival: “For us it has been a major lesson and experiment, we dreamed about it but we had no idea in practice. It took nine months from the morning we decided right we are doing it till now. So we learned the hard way this year but we now know what worked and what not.”

From our part, we do agree with I-Mitri words, we reached the UK by airplane, drove the country up under a huge snow storm, entered the venue and immediately a magical big smile surrounded our face and we enjoyed listening and dancing to the vibes offered by UNOD Weekender.

Listen to the entire interview of I-Mitri below:

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