In Jamaica in the 1950s and ’60s, locally produced music (American R&B covers, ska, then reggae) rarely made it onto the radio because it was considered inferior to what was being produced abroad. Instead it was common for homegrown music to be played over large sound systems in public spaces. Over time this practice became as much a part of reggae as the music itself; it issupposed to be heard over large sound systems. Without that conduit, many aficionados believe, you lose something.
When Carter Van Pelt was wandering along the Coney Island boardwalk four summers ago, it dawned on him: the open space, the lack of nearby residences, the built-in audience made it a perfect place to play reggae the way they do in Jamaica. He could expose American reggae fans, young and old, to the music the way it’s intended to be heard.
The Coney Island Reggae Sound System Beach Party was born.
Mr. Van Pelt, the host of “Eastern Standard Time,” or “EST,” a Jamaican music program on the Columbia University radio station WKCR (89.9 FM), put together this year’s parties along with Sound Liberation Front, a music event marketing and production company in Brooklyn. This Sunday’s program is the third in a series. It will include a number of “selectors” (D.J.’s, as Americans would say), including Jah Life, Sir Tommy, Bobby Channel One and many others.
The fourth and final party of the year will be on Sept. 9 and will include D.J. sets by Clive Chin, Digital English and Downbeat the Ruler.
(Sunday, noon to 8 p.m., Coney Island Boardwalk at West 19th Street, Brooklyn;soundliberation.org.)