Rock & Reggae

Nottingham Community Arts Centre was a focal point for the city's legendary 'Rock & Reggae' festival, an annual event on the Forest Recreation Ground. These posters for the 1986 and '88 events were designed and printed by Mike Sinclair.

Nottingham's Rock & Reggae Festival was founded by Mark Harrison, Tony and Dwight Harris and Brick in response to institutionalised racism and the police's excessive use of sus laws. Nottingham Community Arts & Crafts Centre played a pivotal role in its success.

Mike Sinclair, whose posters are above, got involved with the Rock & Reggae Festival in 1985 after seeing an ad asking for more people to help run the event.

"I had enjoyed going to the festival since it first started in 1982 and was very keen on the way they were focused on promoting Nottingham bands. I also have to admit that I hoped that becoming involved would make it easier for my band to secure a place in the festival line-up. Initially, all I was doing was designing and printing the posters, but the following year I was more involved with the planning and running of the festival over the weekend until, by 1989, I was part of the core organising group.

During the time I was involved, my main focus was on the design and production of various promotional materials - including the posters for the event. With the Rock & Reggae Festival having a healthier promotional budget than that of a local band, I was able to be a lot more ambitious with my designs and not have to compromise as much in order to get the ideas in my head onto paper.

All through the 1980s the Nottingham Community Arts & Crafts Centre was very much the focal point for the Rock & Reggae Festival in terms of providing facilities. Many of the fesitval organisers were in some way involved with Centre either because they worked there or, like myself, were making use of the facilities for their own projects.”

On the posters Mike shared with us billed acts include the recently reunited Dr Egg & The Love Specialists; Asphalt Ribbons (who would become the internationally reknowed Tindersticks); poet, comedian, writer and co-founder of Baby Cow Productions, Henry Normal; and John Peel endorsed reggae band Natural Ites.

A poster for the 1987 event is part of the V&A collection (more on that later...).

Posters created by Mike Sinclair at the Nottingham Community Arts Centre.