Ken Leighton 3 p.m., July 26
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Makeda Dread is the founder of the WorldBeat Center in San Diego, a multi-cultural community center. Consistently promoting messages of love, world peace, and the pursuit of equal rights, Dread is a veteran in the reggae industry, having promoted reggae concerts and bookings with international recording artists such as Pato Banton, Big Mountain, Don Carlos, Midnite, the Marleys, Barrington Levy and many others.
Founding the first Bob Marley Birthday Celebration in 1981, an event which has featured stars from Jamaica, Europe, and Africa. Steel Pulse, Third World, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, Yellowman, and Shaggy and just a some of the artists who have perfomed for Makeda’s tribute to Brother Bob Marley.
For several years, Dread and the Reggae Makossa crew were playing clubs, boat cruises, and festivals. Early in her twenties after an education in business and culinary arts, she launched a successful vegetarian restaurant and a music promotion business in San Diego, where she grew up and shared her visionary community spirit.
Her nonprofit WorldBeat Enterprises led her in search of a location when she discovered an old Balboa Park water tower that substituted as a police storage unit for stolen bikes. She proposed her vision to the City of San Diego and finally after four years of bureaucratic battles, she got the keys in June of 1995 to the water tower that became the WorldBeat Cultural and Music Center.
The Center itself is an old water tower transformed into a music setting with the rotunda periphery of a mini-museum displaying artistry and portraits of Nefertiti, Emperor Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, and Bob Marley. International flags blanket the venue over a vegetarian café, a gift shop, and a second floor green room for performers.
As of 2012, Dread streams live concerts from WorldBeat on her One World TV/Radio site at www.onereggaeworld.com, in addition to her own radio reggae night broadcasts.