Last spring, when I tried to jump start urban jungle back into reality, I got contacted by Justine, wanting to know if we would put a press release in our next issue. I said of course, and then asked her if urban jungle could interview some of the artists. Knowing Mal was a huge reggae fan, and could have an intelligent conversation about it, I was very excited. Justine and I set up an interview with Mal and the founder of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Wayne Smith. Backstory, Mal and I are fighting, horribly, and talking divorce, but we do very well together if we have, a joint project, and I thought that reggae would prevail, and he would leave the personal out of it. I was very wrong. He fought with me the whole way, so I finally said to him, "If you want me to find another person to talk to him I will." He said he'd do it, and took the call. He was on the phone for a good 20 minutes, and when he hung up, seemed genuinely happy. We talked about it, and I was happy with how it went, and wasn't worried, I knew he would write something great. And then this is what I got, so I fired him. This year's Sierra Nevada World Music Festival is June 20,21,22 at the Mendocino County Fair grounds in Boonville.

Wayne Smith steps into the Urban Jungle Got a chance to visit with Wayne Smith, founder of the Sierra Nevada music festival. Now in its 14th year the three day event brings artists from all over the world to perform at the Mendocino County Fair grounds in Boonville. On June 22 Ė 24 legendary artists such as Bunny Wailer, Toots and the Maytals, and Luciano will perform for what Wayne says is the best audience of any in the world.

Here is what else he had to say, "Wayne, what inspired you to found this festival?" "I have been involved in booking reggae shows since my student days at Chico state in the mid 70ís. That evolved into booking these acts to do shows at Winterland, which were produced by Bill Graham. There was also a jam-band oriented festival going on in Marysville called, "Gathering of the Vibes." We were brining some of these reggae bands to perform there, and the fans loved them. When that festival folded up in 1984, we decided to try and do a reggae festival their SNWMF was born. I think about 15,000 people came and Toots and the Maytals headlined."



















"What would you count as your most memorable moment in the history of the festival?" "I would have to say that bringing JuniorBiles off the streets of Kingston, helping him climb out of a debilitating mental state, fix up his teeth, get him a travel visa and bring him over with a stellar band, led by his friend Earl "Chinna" Smith, and doing his 1st live performance ever. Junior Biles was a Lee Perry produced singer with a string of hits in the early 70s who had fallen on hard times, attempted suicide, and was homeless when friends rallied round and got him to our stage. People in the audience were weeping."

"Is there anything you feel youíve learned about yourself or life as a result of throwing this festival all these years?" "Trust the people, they know way more than the "experts" give them credit for. The audience at SNWMF is very knowledgeable! They ask for artists that have little name recognition in the mainstream, but who are great performers, and we are happy to try and bring those folks to our stage. For example, a Brazilian superstar named Carhelios Brown will be in attendance this year. Heís only doing 6 dates in North America, and one of them will be in Boonville."

"When you arenít listening to reggae, what do you listen to? Also, can you tell us of a good book youíve read lately?" "Lately, Iíve been listening to Manu Chao and the British pop singer Lily Allen. Iíve just reread a book titled "The Prize" by Daniel Yergin. Itís about the history of oil on our planet. An excellent book." The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival will be at the Boonville Fairgrounds on June 22-24.Live music, dancehall DJs, camping, food, vending. A family friendly experience in the heart of Mendocino County. Wayne hopes to see you there.

For more info, go to BigUp