BeneluXXL Reggae Contest

Reggae Talent Xplosion

BeneluXXL Reggae Contest

The Reggae Contest was originally started by the Rototom Sunsplash organisation and devoted to all uprising European reggae bands. The aim is to give some visibility to these artists, both through the promotional campaign supporting the contest and by offering a performance on the main stage of the festival to the winners.

the favourite formula remains live selection.

The first edition of the Reggae Contest took place in 2002 and since then it has grown a lot, with an increasing number of bands taking part, first from Italy and later on, from the rest of Europe, evolving into the European Reggae Contest. It has experimented many forms including online voting, but the favourite formula remains live selection. The competition is for bands presenting original songs and lyrics, and no cover bands or artists proposing new versions of classics are admitted.

Since 2008 the regional preselections were introduced and the Benelux Reggae Contest became part of the European Reggae Contest. Through online voting Pura Vida was the first winner who reached the finals of the European Reggae Contest, followed by Punky Donch in 2009. In 2010, the first “live” final was held at the Muziekgieterij in Maastricht with Black Prophet & Thunderstrike being the winner. The next year saw Wahwahsda win in a fully packed Muziekgieterij.

In 2012 the organizers of the Benelux Reggae Contest, not satisfied with the formula of the European Reggae Contest and other organizational issues, made the decision to go on their own. In collaboration with respected partners from Belgium and the Netherlands the organizers managed to come up with a truly worthwhile prize package. The live final of the 2012 edition was won by Sunrockers. In 2013 not only bands were allowed to participate, but the contest was also open for MC’s (being a deejay, singjay or singer, who brings his/her own lyrics on a roots reggae, ska, dub or dancehall riddim). Besides that bands and MC’s from bordering regions in France and Germany were also invited to take part in the contest. For the live final for bands the venue was changed from Muziekgieterij to the Petrol Club in Antwerp, Belgium, while the live final for MC’s was held in Cafe The Zen in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. MC winner was Mr. Aya from France, while Iron Ites from Belgium won the Bsnd Contest.

Being satisfied with the try-out and results of allowing bands and MC’s from the bordering French & German regions to participate, it was obvious that a slightly different name for the contest was needed. And thus the letters ‘XL” were added, which turned the contest’s name into the BeneluXXL Reggae Contest. For the 2014 edition a staggering amount of 58 bands and 41 singers & deejays (MC’s) registered for the Band Contest and MC Contest respectively. The live finals for bands & MC’s took place at the same date and venue, the latter again being the Petrol Club in Antwerp, Belgium. An improvement compared to the split live finals of the previous edition. The 2014 winners came from the Netherlands: Verse iTal (MC Contest) and Rapha Pico & The Roots Rockers (Band Contest).