Simmer Down Festival is a historic annual celebration of music and arts in Birmingham. The festival celebrates the sound of reggae, which has emerged from the city’s diverse and multicultural nature. It is this diversity which has contributed to Birmingham’s reputation as an international city of culture and an epicentre of reggae music - second only to the birthplace of reggae, Jamaica.
Sound systems have been essential to sustaining and promoting reggae music. From Kingston to Birmingham, people experience and enjoy reggae music primarily through the medium of the sound system. Simmer Down Festival’s takeover of Smithfield Festival Site will pay homage to Jamaican sound system culture by presenting two of Birmingham’s formidable award winning sound systems WASSIFA SHOWCASE and LUV INJECTION.
Both sound systems will enter the dancehall arena at Smithfield Festival Site, along with their deejays, selectors and an array of local and national guest vocalists including EARL SIXTEEN, SISTER AISHA, ANTHONY JOHNSON and MYKI TUFF.
From 6:30-10pm, expect an unmissable outdoor set of simmering sound system music, delivering uplifting and joyful reggae party vibes – ear-popping entertainment guaranteed!
Appearing at Simmer Down’s takeover are:
Wassifa Showcase was established in 1972 in Handsworth and is one of Birmingham’s most formidable sound systems. The lead singers, MCs and toasters have fronted their performances,performing in community halls, prestigious mainstream venues, city-wide festivals, civic ceremonies, outdoor festivals and carnivals. They truly are a real Brummie Institution. Rising to every occasion, Wassifa Showcase are recognised for delivering unmatched riveting performances which combine classic reggae tunes alongside the very latest tracks. Wassifa Showcase is represented by Mykal Wassifa Brown, JB Wassifa Brown, Ranking Bev, Full Ras and Jahmi.
Luv Injection Sound
Birmingham-based Luv Injection was founded in 1987 by Winston Mexican. Over the years the
sound has established a reputation of being ahead of the musical curve,setting standards for others to follow. Having toured the world, Luv Injection are known for their extensive catalogue of classic dubplates by some of the most iconic reggae artists both past and present. With a heavyweight eye-catching and ear-popping sound system, Luv Injection prides itself on being a training ground for up-and-coming DJs, selectors and MCs. Their current dedicated team possesses all the necessary skills and expertise to entice and enthral a dancehall audience and pull it away from its competitors and call for “pull up and come again”!
Earl Sixteen is a Jamaican reggae singer and musician whose career began in the mid-1970s.. Touring the world as a Reggae Ambassador, he started his own label, Merge Production, releasing previously unheard vinyl from the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, Earl has been working with producers in the UK and Europe, as well as doing shows with Thomas Evers of Rockers Artist Agency.
Johnson’s musical talents are inspired by the likes of John Holt, Dennis Brown, and Alton Ellis. He has spent a lot of time at the Rasta camp on Selassie Drive, where he met musical legends Les Clarke and Balvin Fials, later forming the vocal trio Mystic I. Together, they recorded the hit song Gunshot, a long time favourite with sound systems.
Well known across the Jamaican and European reggae circuits, he has worked with committed producers such as Jah Warrior, Rootsman, and Mike Brooks. He still performs internationally, especially with the French Band Positive Roots Band.
Aisha is a Soundman’s Daughter and a True Roots Dawta. She’s toured the world singing
her vibrant songs and doing Jah Works. But no matter where she goes -be it Africa, Brazil,
Israel, Europe, Australia, Scandinavia, Mexico, or Japan - she uplifts and Inspires the those that hear her sing.
Sister Aisha has a significant following in and around the Midlands, established through her live performances. Instead of singing sweet, soulful covers of R&B; hits, commonly sung by many reggae divas, Aisha prefers to perform roots music. In the late 80s Aisha teamed up with the Mad Professor and released "Prophecy" on his 'Ariwa Sounds' label. Aisha is a very energetic performer, which has secured great critical acclaim for her performances, captivating audiences wherever she appears.
Myki “Tuff” Richards started professionally as a bass player in 1984 with his first band Salem
Foundation. He enjoyed the success of 2 charting singles, after which he moved on to playing with Studio 1 singers Eddie Fitzroy, Jennifer Lara, Ranking Joe, Anthony Johnson, Earl 16, and Leroy Smart.
During this time, he was also following his passion for sound systems by gaining success as a DJ on the “ORTHODOX 38” with Wooligan. He emerged onto the UK dancehall scene as Myki Tuff, pursuing his career with the legendary “WASSIFA” sound system along with MACK AB, SPENGMAN, and DADDY B. Wassifa became the most popular sound system in the UK culminating in Myki Tuff winning Dj of the year 1994.
Since 2015, Myki Tuff performs as a vocalist with the Friendly Fire Band both on stage and in the studio, with a number of singles under his belt, and live shows all over the UK’s festival and club scene.
Plus look out for all of our daily activities: Each day at 2:15pm, Pride House will host interviews on our Beacon Stage with queer athletes participating across the Games. Whilst just scratching the surface on their experience, we want to offer a visible platform to celebrate the athletes and the work Pride House are doing during the Games.
Take time to explore our Spaghetti Junction inspired brand new inflatable art installation, watch live sports from across the games on our big screen, play table tennis against a robot, stumble on circus performances and watch a host of brand new films, music videos and digital commissions screening throughout the day, including a fantastic new digital visual spectacular every day at 6pm.
We’re also playing host to daily performances from acclaimed dance-circus ensemble Motionhouse, who will be bringing back the unique and spectacular globe from our Festival opening show, Wondrous Stories. Plus look out for a living green space within the heart of Smithfield, created by the National Trust and featuring more than 70 young trees, colourful benches and hammocks, the installation provides somewhere visitors can connect with the natural world, relax and play in between the Games’ high-energy events.