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Sound System Culture: Bristol

Sound System Culture Bristol
Karl "Sebastian" Smith, with his December 1966 membership card for the Bamboo club

From June 8 to July 17, The Glass Room at Colston Hall will host Sound System Culture: Bristol, a new exhibition celebrating the history of reggae sound systems in our city.

The exhibition is the first instalment in a three-city nationwide tour that will also take in Birmingham and London, and is the work of Al 'Fingers' Newman, who produced the brilliant 'Clarks In Jamaica' book and Mandeep Samra, who, along with Newman and Paul Huxtable, was behind the book that sowed the seed for this project, 2014's 'Sound System Culture: Huddersfield'.

As well as photography, archive film footage, audio recordings and memorabilia, the exhibition will include Heritage HiFi, a specially built vintage system including a full sound rig and selection of vinyl with a dubplate cut specially for the project featuring sound clips of original Bristolian soundmen. The project will also be supported by a live event at Malcolm X Centre in St Pauls featuring local reggae staples Enterprise Sound System, Jah Lokko and Sir Bastian on Saturday June 27.

You can check a selection of images from the exhibition below, and for more information head to the event's Facebook page.


See more images of Bristol sound systems in our exclusive gallery of 1980s Bristol by Beezer


Enterprise Imperial HiFi and friends, circa 1977

 Photo courtesy of the Michael House collection


Alpha & Omega sound system on St Nicholas Road, St Pauls Carnival, July 1991


Photo © Mark Simmons Photography


Lionpulse sound system, founded in 2013 by General H and Live&Direk

 Photo: Gary Thomas


Heritage HiFi sound system, built for the Sound System Culture project by Paul Axis













































Photo: Elliot Baxter



Flyer for a Leroy Smart concert at the Bamboo Club, 25 Feb 1977













































Photo courtesy of the Donovan Jackson Collection 


Big Roy and his brother Ferdie, Sir Jay Sound System, 2015




Photo: Al 'Fingers' Newman