Earlier forecasts of scattered showers never materialized at the 8th annual Waterfront Reggae Festival held on Saturday, August 12, 2017. In fact, the sun was shining for a good part of the afternoon as Reggae fans of all ages flocked to Bold Point Park in East Providence, RI to listen to a full day of conscious and uplifting sounds from some of Reggae's finest artists.
Previously held at the Newport Yachting Center in its early years, the Reggae Festival made its Providence debut in 2015 at India Point Park in Providence. This year's event moved across the bay to Bold Point Park where it will be held for at least the next three years. The premiere waterfront location provided a laid-back peaceful environment to enjoy the day with family and friends. Many different viewing vantage points allowed the audience to be as near or as far from the stage as desired while all having wonderful views of the stage and close proximity to the various vendors in attendance.
Promising 10 hours of entertainment, the festival started at noon with the sounds of Omega Sound Djs and Dj Matik keeping the good vibes flowing throughout the day in between full length quality sets of live music. Local Reggae fusion band Natural Element kicked off the live segment of the program. Caribbean artist Taj Weekes and his multi-cultural band Adowa then provided an entertaining set for the early afternoon attendees including popular selections from his latest studio album Love, Herb & Reggae.
Taj Weekes and Adowa
Due to visa issues Kabaka Pyramid explained to the audience that he was not able to bring The Bebble Rockers, his full band to the festival as planned. Instead, Kabaka delivered a dynamic set with well known Selector Yaadcore backing him as devoted Kabaka Pyramid fans lined the front to sing along word for word. Other highlights of the set included the performance of his new song, Can't Breathe (produced by Genis T) from his upcoming album, Contraband. He also took time to thank many of the area DJs and the RI Reggae fraternity that have supported his career from early on.
Junior Kelly delighted fans with his energetic set. His contagious smile had the audience smiling and singing along especially when he jumped into the audience to finish a song surrounded by enthusiastic fans. Other highlights of his set included a powerful duo of Missing You with supporting vocalist, Chantelle. New songs including High Hopes from his latest album, Urban Poet were well received.
From the moment Anthony B jumped on stage, it was literally non-stop action. He drew from his extensive song catalog to perform fan-favorite songs such as Can't stop the Fire, Tease her and his anthem song Raid di Barn during his high energy set. He played tribute to Gregory Issacs, one of the Reggae pioneers who paved the way for the current generation of Reggae & Dancehall artists. And in honor of freedom fighter John Lennon, Anthony B sang a touching version of Imagine, the lyrics never more important than they are right now in today's politically charged climate - injecting hope that the world will be as one.
The final set of the night belonged to Reggae legend, Freddie McGregor performing many of his timeless hits. Freddie also took time out of his set to honor his close friend the late, Dennis Brown performing the ever popular song, Love and Hate. By popular demand, Freddie responded to two encores before closing out a beautiful day of music.
It was a wonderful day to see Reggae fans from all walks of life celebrating peace, love and unity at a time when it is needed most. Kudos to the festival staff for executing another successful year of good vibes for all.
A Reflection in Time
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