Island Records, the legendary label founded by Chris Blackwell in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 and a home to such heavyweight artists as Bob Marley, Tom Waits, U2, Nick Drake, PJ Harvey and Amy Winehouse, will mark its 50th anniversary with the Island 50 Festival next month.
The cornerstone of the celebrations is Island Life, a week of live shows at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire featuring Island artists past and present. The confirmed line up for Island Life is, so far, as follows:
26 May – Sly & Robbie And The Compass Point All Stars featuring special guests; Kid Creole & The Coconuts
27 May – The Fratellis, Bombay Bicycle Club and Special Guest
28 May – Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) and Friends, Baaba Maal
29 May – Paul Weller, Ernest Ranglin, Spooky Tooth
30 May – Keane, Tom Tom Club, Spooky Tooth
31 May – Amy Winehouse, Toots & The Maytals, I Blame Coco
In tandem with the shows, The Island Life Exhibition Of Photos, Artwork And Memorabilia will run from 22 May to 17 June at The Vinyl Factory on London’s Poland Street. A book, Keep On Running – The Story Of Island Records, will be published on 21 May. Edited by Chris Salewicz, it will feature contributions from such noted wordsmiths as Paul Morley, Jon Savage and Q’s own Sylvia Patterson.
Q itself will mark Island’s anniversary with its own series of specials. In the June issue of Q magazine, on sale 28 April, Q tells Island’s story in the words of the people who made it happen. Online at Qthemusic.com throughout the month Q will present an exclusive gallery of rare and previously unseen photographs from the Island archives, including the shot of the great Bob Marley pictured here and taken by Adrian Boot.
And in May, none other than Paul Weller will host and present an extra special show on Q Radio, playing his own selection of the best of Island’s music.
For further information on the Island celebrations go to www.islandrecords.co.uk