Rock | Scott Durst

Irie Magazine | Rock | Scott Durst - Executive Producer, Reggae In The Hills

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Scott Durst, Executive Producer of Reggae in the Hills

By Terry Lanthier

Reggae In The Hills

Meet Scott Durst, Executive Producer of Reggae in the Hills. It takes a special kind of person to create a music festival such as this one, an event that is all about the music and the people who attend it. Scott Durst is one of those people, as well as his partner Jay Smith and they have stayed true to their dream.

Reggae In The Hills was co-founded by Scott Durst and Jay Smith, both leaders in event production. Durst and Smith met over 20 years ago, becoming steadfast friends and business partners. They make a great team, with Jay handling bookings, vendors, and venue needs, while Scott focuses on media, marketing, branding and production. Together and separately they have successfully operated many music and entertainment businesses over the years.

Reggae In The Hills Co-Founders Jay Smith and Scott Durst

Familiar with both sides of the music business, Scott Durst has been a performer himself; the former singer-rapper-beat maker was known as ‘Scotty Dread’ in the 90’s. While working to make a name for himself in the L.A. rock-metal-rap scene, he discovered he had a knack for the business side of music rather than playing and performing. “I knew my calling wasn’t performing on stage; it was making rock stars look like rock stars on those stages” says Durst.

Four years ago the two partners parlayed their fondness for Reggae festivals into creating one of their own, launching an initiative that was almost a year in the making. Armed with a mutual love for Reggae, extensive music industry experience and their combined talents for event production, they knew they could make it work and Reggae In The Hills was born.

Their first Reggae In The Hills Festival took place at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in northern California in 2012 with about 2,700 in attendance. In 2013 that number rose to 3,600 and last year’s fest saw the count swell again with between 5,000 and 6,000 fans rocking out in the countryside.

Scott’s early life was spent on the move; his parents changed homes so often between California and Texas that he refers to himself as “Texifornian or a Calixaian”. Even though he eventually put down his own roots in Austin, Texas he’s still making the trip, often traveling back and forth to Sacramento, California where Jay Smith lives.

According to Scott, with their deep ties to the Calaveras community as well as to the local reggae scene, it made total sense to bring their festival to life there. Durst says, “The fest is just as much about the beautiful Calaveras County as it is the music. We would like to see a long term growth in tourism here from folks being introduced through RITH.”

The Reggae in the Hills Music Festival 2015 is set for June 12-14, at Calaveras County Fairgrounds. Now in its fourth year, the three-day festival boasts an eclectic mixture of artists from all over the Caribbean and North America. The 2015 line up is an exciting one and will be headlined by Ky-Mani Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley. For the complete line up, visit the official website here:


As always, many other art forms and workshops will be taking place. Along with their two stages and multiple live art venues, RITH provides a skatepark, complete with half pipe, for skateboarders. Many food vendors will be offering up their wares including festival food for the kids. There is also a very large and virtually unlimited on-site camping area and parking is free.

As a special twist, this year’s fest will have an alien theme with out-of-this-world stage design and floating props. And, at night the fun continues with after-parties free of charge to patrons of the Festival.

Reggae In The Hills – It’s about our commitment to providing hospitality to you. It’s about not sweat’n da small tings and having the time of your life!Irie Magazine Logo

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