Like a storybook ending, the World Clash trophy returned to Jamaica, the birthplace of sound clash, with Code Red’s recent victory. Moreover, the sold-out O2 Academy in Birmingham, England, served as the ultimate finale to World Clash, a premier sound system competition produced by New York-based promoters Irish and Chin since 1998.
The UK was picked for the last staging of the event because of its rich connection to Jamaica’s sound-system culture. The UK is one of the first places throughout the Jamaican diaspora to embrace sound system culture and based on the electrifying production, the choice was not made in vain.
Heralded as the industry’s longest-running clash, World Clash thrusted the art of sound clash into another stratosphere during its exciting and vibrant 24-year run. Through World Clash, sound clash erupted into a spectacular competition with lights, camera and action, reminiscent of a blockbuster stage show.
World Clash started in New York in 1998 in an effort to revitalise the city’s fading sound-clash scene. But the World Clash fever spread, spawning stagings in Canada, Antigua, Jamaica and the final one in the UK. Thousands of patrons from around the globe attended World Clash to witness more than 50 sounds in action and 13 champions.
While World Clash winners gained a coveted World Clash trophy, as well as bragging rights, expanded branding and increased bookings and business; participating sounds also benefited tremendously from just being in the clash.
With a huge buzz centred on World Clash: The End since it was held in early May, promoter Garfield ‘Chin’ Bourne said, “In many ways, I believe that World Clash has resparked convos in the entertainment space on sound clash. Because of the entertaining, adrenaline-rushing experience offered at the event, I believe younger sounds and clash fans feel they have something to look forward to.”
As the lights dimmed on what is arguably the greatest sound clash on Earth, Chin stated, “The final staging was necessary, as we have reached a crossroads in the culture, requiring a refresh and rebrand of sound clash to bring in new talent, attract younger fans and appeal to more women. The World Clash effect has lasted for over two decades. Naturally, ending World Clash allows the industry to focus on what’s next.”
He added, “I thank those who have supported us through thick and thin. I’m eager to see what tomorrow has in store.”