What began as a small, informal party in the hills of St. Andrew has now grown into one of the most important dub parties on the island. Every Sunday, hundreds make their way up the hill into what seems to be someone’s home—but what’s actually the best party in town. Behind the turntables is Gabre Selassie, an influential figure in the preservation and distribution of roots music and soundsystem culture. Since Dub Club’s inception in 2002, Selassie has been the heart and soul of the party.
From the streets you can hear the sounds of roots reggae and dub, as the music thumps into the wee hours of the morning. (The party begins at 8 o’clock every Sunday night, but everyone knows things don’t really get going until after 10.) People from all walks of life come to Dub Club—doctors, lawyers, locals, foreigners, expats, athletes and old-school rastas. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, so long as you enjoy the dub music—a subgenre of reggae,with heavy drums and bass. The music brings everyone together. All you need to enjoy this gathering are your ears.
Along the walls are colorful murals of adults dancing and waving the Rastafarian flag, as a painting of Jah (a term for the rastafarian God Haile Selassie I) looms behind them. A quote on the wall reads, “The only good system is a sound system.” As the music plays from the open-air yard of Dub Club, party-goers wander around, weaving through vendors selling books and local art while the music plays. Ital food (another word for the Rastafarian diet) like tuna-and-cheese melts, and rum flasks with fresh fruit juice are served on the deck overlooking Kingston from the hills of St. Andrew—the view is seriously breathtaking.
Gabre Selassie is usually somewhere behind the turntables, but he often shares the platform with other musicians. You might see the guys of Suns of Dub or Chronixx performing while Usain Bolt sits quietly on a bench bopping to the music. You never know what you’ll experience when visiting Dub Club. So grab a flask of your favorite rum with a bottle of fresh fruit juice, and enjoy the party. And don’t even think about leaving early.