Today, the fifth staging of the Trench Town Community Festival takes place at the Vin Lawrence Park on First Street, a complex facing the Trench Town Culture Yard, the former tenement where Marley once lived. Activities start at 7:00 am with a five-kilometre road race, to be followed by football and netball tournaments.
There will also be a craft exhibition showcasing the artistry of some of Trench Town’s residents.
“It’s really held to showcase the talent of people in Trench Town. We hope to raise funds and start an education and skills fund,” Sophia Skeen, one of the event’s organisers, told The Sunday Gleaner.
First held in 2001, the Trench Town Community Festival is jointly sponsored this year by the Trench Town Development Association, the Trench Town Mediators’ Association, the Dispute Resolu-tion Foundation and the Social Development Commission. Ms. Skeen said the festival has not lived up to monetary expectations, but believes there will be an improvement this year.
Marley was born in Nine Miles, St. Ann, in 1945. He came to Trench Town to join his mother Cedella in the early 1950s, and lived at First Street for many years where he created and sang several of his songs, including Concrete Jungle, Burning and Trench Town, which depict life in the community during the 1960s.
The Rastafarian singer and songwriter is largely credited for giving reggae an international profile in the 1970s. He died in May 1981, in Miami, from cancer. Trench Town is part of the South St. Andrew constituency.
It experienced violent exchanges between gangs in 2004, resulting in the closure of schools, and deaths of several persons, including area leader Horace ‘Ram Johnnie’ Murphy in August.
-Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer