Behind the Scene: Jakob Lennartsson from Saigon Rockers

When Jakob came onto the Saigon scene from his native Sweden in the early 2000s, he brought with him a love for what he describes as Jamaica’s “island culture and all of the great stuff that goes with it: reggae, jungle and dancehall music.”

Along with fellow promoters and DJs, he started Saigon Rockers as a way to bring reggae music to the local Vietnamese audience. It began with a daytime event called Reggae Sunday, which mixed reggae music with a laid back, outdoor vibe.

First held at District 1’s Barbeque Garden, Reggae Sunday would eventually move onto venues like McSorley’s in District 2 and other outdoor spaces large enough for an outdoor gig.The events were free, owing to Jakob’s desire not to make money, but to bring “good vibes” to the city’s music scene. The popularity of Reggae Sunday grew, and now, the team hosts nighttime gigs as well, including the monthly reggae event Mad Fyah.

“We don’t just play music – we put on a show. We rarely just play, we have other stuff going on,” says Jakob.