*The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book by Rich Opre Lowe, Two Kings, Jamaica’s King Edwards “The Giant” Sound System The Era of The King, The Duke, & The Sir.
*Soon to be available worldwide on Amazon.com
George and Vin Edwards recall outstanding dances that held long-lasting positive memories. To no surprise, the brothers recalled special nights where they stamped their mark on Jamaica’s music history. Understandably, details begin to thin as original dancegoers advance in age, and others pass away. Remember that there is little physical evidence of the one-time dances; only memories have endured. The following is one such dance memory held by Vin Edwards:
(Vin Edwards) Some dances would be organized like a picnic, arranged for children, age eighteen down. Some of the present Jamaican don’t know nothin’ about these things! In the country, they used to have “night and day pic- nics.” It would be picnic in the day, and then they have dance in the night for the bigger people. They did this all over Jamaica, but in my district in the Parish of Saint Mary, it was at Wood Park. The picnic would be held at a community of interest, with a post office, church, gas station, town center, a playing field, and buses running through it. We didn’t have electric current in those days. Wood Park would attract people from many districts like Derry, Bellfield, Donnington, Pembroke Hall, Bartley Town, Farm Pen, Walker, Cocks Piece, Hartland, and Wallingford. The picnic would have an area where we would play cricket. We didn’t have much football in my district, so we play cricket. They would build a booth, mostly for younger people, as more shade from the sun, than for rain. This booth would be built by cutting down the riverside materials to gather bamboo as the structure and coconut leaf as a cover. When it come down into night, the bigger people move into the dance hall when King Edwards was playin’. They call that a “night and day picnic.”
(Rich Lowe, December, 2022)