Chronixx & The Zinc Fence Redemption 
Capture Land Tour and The Power of Reggae 

Story by Grace Vanriel, Photos by MyFlash Photography for Reggae Reflection 
6/6/2015 -  Lining every available nook and cranny of the spacious multilevel Irving Plaza concert hall located in downtown Manhattan, it was elbow room only for fans out to see Chronixx and his band ZincFence Redemption on their 2015 “Capture Land Tour.” The concert was jam-packed and only the VIP areas offered slightly more breathing room and seating options and even there, it was an unprecedented crush. It's hard to imagine that as a Reggae act, Chronixx only started touring outside of  Jamaica W.I. in 2013, and that by the following year he was already seeing exponential growth of his fan base and receiving a flurry of bookings as he grew in international acclaim but, it's true. With record sales also steadily growing, everything required for a successful music career is in place and pointing towards a prosperous professional future.  It's also now impossible to deny that this young, high pitched, lyrically motivated  Rastafarian sing-jay calling himself Chronixx and his extraordinarily talented band mates with an unmistakable sound are much more than just fly-by-night one (or two)  hit wonders.

Creating and singing great Reggae music is one thing. But actually winning the unwavering loyalty of fans is another. Chronixx (born Jamar McNaughton) has been very successful at doing both. While the first-ever  EP released by Chronixx in 2010 consisting of seven tracks called Hooked on Chronixx earned him industry respect, the EP did not make him an overnight celebrity.  His rise to fame was short but incremental receiving its first incredible boost when he performed on NBC's ‘Tonight Show’ as a special invited guest of show host Jimmy Fallon. The song he chose was already a popular hit single from his second EP Dread and Terrible (2014) called Here Comes Trouble  (Rootsman Rhythm). The performance broadcast live on US national television certainly helped catapult Chronixx into a number two spot on  the Billboard Digital Reggae Singles chart, and brought him to the attention of American audiences. However, that performance alone does not explain the sheer speed in which he has continued to rise in popularity since that time which is a dream come true for the artist, and Reggae history in the making.

Following the Dread and Terrible Tour, the Capture Land Tour is the second major tour undertaken by Chronixx and is so-named after another song on his Dread and Terrible EP. Capture Land continues to build around a  theme of unification through increased social consciousness and takes this interesting new celebrity to twenty-one shows across the United States that kicked off on May 23rd at the California Roots Festival and ends on June 20th  at the Fillmore in Miami.  Enthusiastic New York fans attending the Irving Plaza show, as part of the 2015 Governors Ball After  Dark  series, arrived early and in full force, waved Ethiopian flags signifying their understanding and unity with the lyrical messages by holding up lighters and singing along with Chronixx as he performed Rastafari inspired Reggae.  Chronixx kicked off his generous two hour concert with the song Alpha & Omega and included a number of other outstanding well performed selections namely:  Start a Fire, Eternal Fire, Never Give Up, They Don't Know, Most I, Thanks and Praise, Access Granted, Somewhere, Smile Jamaica, and a popular remake of the Inner Circle song featuring Jacob Miller called Tenement Yard (News Carrying Dread). Tastefully sprinkled throughout the set were short thanks and praises to Jah and brief social commentary on subjects that impact our daily lives, making the entire evening a true Roots & Culture Reggae styled presentation.

Chronixx Capture Land Tour
Fans at Irving Plaza
Chronixx Capture Land Tour Iriving Plaza NYCChronixx and the Zinc Fence Redemption
Chronixx and the ZincFence Redemption's obvious love of Reggae music was apparent in their overall presentation at Irving Plaza. Their generous set never faltered in energy characterized by lyrics that created a storyline and most importantly, a seamless ability to move artfully between the traditional Reggae beat to the modernization of the sound that successfully blended older styled presentations with a newer one.  Without going into a lengthy debate on the existence of a “Reggae Revival,” at this point I would interject that if by definition the term is narrowed to mean the   “popularization of traditional Reggae music” then I would have to agree, a change has come.  It was a sight to behold - Reggae lovers attentively watching Chronixx's every movement on stage, absorbing his message, and  swaying where they stood clearly transformed by what they saw and heard. The evening was a totally uplifting experience that fed the mind and moved the body.

Band Members

Jamar "Chronixx" McNaughton, Joshua "Flubz" Jones, Nnamdi Robinson, Elisha Ellis, Hector Lewis, Evan "Yello" Mason, Stephen Coore 

Grace Vanriel is the founder and CEO of the Live Reggae NYC network and co-founder of The Reggaeholics Movement; she is a freelance writer for Where Itz At Magazine, Senior Correspondent for,, and the Assistant Caribbean Editor for (online and print).

Marjorie Flash is the CEO of MyFlash Photography; she is a freelance photojournalist for Where Itz At Magazine, and contributing photographer for 
Story and photos by Xavier LeBlanc, Reggae Reflection Correspondent.  
Cham Setup Shop Vol 2 TourCham
Elements of pioneering musical generations and modern burgeoning artists have recently combined to produce a new wave of music on the popular album release Set Up Shop Vol 2. The album is a new compilation presented by Damian, Julian, and Stephen Marley through their label  Ghetto Youths International. The compilation also features a variety of talented collaborators including Wayne Marshall, Jo Mersa Marley, Christopher Ellis, Cham and Black Am I. The release claimed the No.1 position on the US Billboard Reggae Album chart in its debut week, following the great success of the 2013 initial album Set Up Shop Vol 1. Now to celebrate the album a nationwide tour was launched featuring several of its skilled artists. 

One of the stops on this exciting new tour included the city of Madison, Wisconsin where we had the privilege of capturing much of the magic that ignited the stage that night. 

The first artist to blaze the stage was the soulfully melodic Black Am I, who gifted the audience with a selection of conscious reggae vibrations for the intimate crowd at the city's charming venue. Black Am I began the set with his self titled track using smooth vocals revering roots and culture with lyrical references to Martin Luther King and Marcus Garvey. Further tracks included the faster paced, bolder and refreshingly empowering titled Samson Strength, featured on Set Up Shop Vol 1. Ending the set was Black Am I's new single from Vol 2 In The Ghetto featuring a sweet upbeat feel as the crowd danced along joyously while Black Am I delivered the song's meaningful chorus. 

Gracing the stage next was the extremely talented Christopher Ellis, who many may recognize as son of the Godfather of Rocksteady Alton Ellis. Christopher quickly kicked off his performance with Willow Tree, a sentimental heartfelt rendition fueled with lyrical passion. Many of Christopher's songs were backed with a mood of joyful romantic thought or R&B style heartbreak. He stated to the audience briefly between songs that his melodies were directed toward his female fans with a little something for everyone else as well. This was followed by thoroughly enjoyable catchy songs such as You Babe and Roller Coaster, originally from his EP release Better Than Love produced by Damian Marley.

A big treat for those in attendance was the presence of dancehall veteran Wayne Marshall who has been recording music for over 12 years. His trademark energy and enthusiasm was immediately apparent as he literally jumped onto to the stage and began performing the high octane track OK with Marshall encouraging the audience to excitedly shout part of the chorus. He charmingly smiled for the audience and infused an elevated mood while performing songs from Set Up Shop Vol 2 like On The Corner and Nah Give Up. An unexpected bonus came with a special tribute between songs to reggae legend John Holt who recently passed away. Marshall succeeded in honoring his music for a new generation while also displaying the joyful sounds of his own new music from his 2014 album Tru Colors.

A young new promising artist in the Marley family also blessed the audience with his own unique sounds, as Jo Mersa Marley, son of Stephen Marley was welcomed with a very eager delighted reception. Mersa shared with fans his latest and popular song Rock and Swing which was accompanied by a musically addictive beat and strong sounds. This was followed by Sunshine as many in the audience happily sang along during the upbeat performance from his 2014 Comfortable EP. Returning to the stage to join Mersa later was Black Am I as they traded verses and entertained with their smooth collaborative performance. A classic to any almost reggae fan in the world was One Love, a song originally performed by Mersa's iconic grandfather Bob Marley. It exemplified the blending of old and new, past trailblazers and future reggae stars all combining their sounds for the crowd's pleasure. 

Ghetto Youth International Artists:  Jo Mersa, Black Am I, Wayne Marshall and Christopher Ellis


Cham Set up Shop Vol2 Tour
Last and certainly not least was an intensely electrifying set by Cham, a charismatic popular artist who has been entertaining fans around the world for many years. There was no doubt as Cham entered the space that the crowd was about to encounter an impeccable energetic performance. He made his entrance with the hit reggae version of This Is Why I'm Hot to begin building the foundation of his vibrant show. Sharing a bit of humor between tracks he also described the meaning of "bumbaclot" to everyone and it's opportune use as the audience laughed and played along. Cham's uncanny ability to dance with optimum levels of energy while singing was on full display as he provided exuberant spectacle with songs like Wine as the venue lit up with people moving right along the dance floor. Cham's performance alone would have proven worthwhile for ticket holders as he delivered what seemed to be a near hour long supply of excitement during the show. To finish off his set Cham shared his next likely hit single I'm Too Hot from his upcoming album Lawless and fans embraced the song with a high joyous reception.

Before ending the night Cham introduced each member of the Mad People Gang band individually with great praise as each member (Kevon Clarke, Drew Keys, Javaughn Bond, Jason Farmer) showcased their selective skills for the supportive audience. Bass player Javaughn Bond (who also provided background vocals throughout) performed a solo alongside Cham as the two used Eminem's Lose Yourself as inspiration with Cham singing as they provided the crowd with one last burst of great energy to end the show. 

The Mad People Gang

Each performer on the Ghetto Youths International Set Up Shop Vol 2 concert unequivocally demonstrated the power and talent of the latest generation of reggae stars who will surely be heard for countless years to come. Fans are encouraged to check out the remaining shows on the tour, don't miss it!

View more photos from Setup Shop Vol2 Tour in Madison, WI

Xavier LeBlanc is an experienced media professional currently producing national entertainment material. With a deeply rooted admiration for reggae music and the talented artists within, he prides himself in providing diverse coverage for fellow music fans and enthusiasts. For more information or media inquiries please contact at

An up close and personal Reggae Get Together in Miami 2/15

Photos and recap by EmpressK for
While in Miami to cover the annual 9Mile Music Festival on Valentine's Day weekend, I along with many other Reggae festival attendees had one more chance to celebrate another great evening of live Reggae music at the gathering known at The Get Together.  On Sunday evening, House of Marley and Ghetto Youths International jointly presented a showcase of emerging talent all backed by live bands at the small and intimate venue, The Stage, located in downtown Miami.  Advertised artists No-maddz, Kabaka Pyramid, Jo Mersa and Stephen Marley all backed by their own bands gave wonderful performances.  Quite a few unannounced artists took the stage as well to make this a most memorable evening including Jesse Royal who performed Modern Day Judas with Jo Mersa.   

No-Maddz kicks off The Get Together 

Kabaka Pyramid

Jesse Royal

Jo Mersa

Skip Marley debut performance MiamiIntroducing Skip Marley
Stephen Marley performed an opening song and then had the pleasure of introducing the debut performance of his nephew Skip Marley (son of Cedella). Spragga BenzDetermineJulian Marley, and Damian Marley made guest appearances as well.  A surprise introduction of Cedella Marley during the final group finale of Could you be Loved capped off a spectacular weekend of uplifting Reggae Music in Miami. 

We would like to give a special shout out to Lance O of Kulcha Shok Music for accommodating all of the media who covered the event at The Get Together. 

Check out more of our photos in the Issue 8 of Island Stage Magazine.    Click here

The Marley Finale 

stephen marley
Stephen Marley
julian marley, damian marley, stephen marley
Julian, Damian, Stephen
Cedella Marley miami
Cedella Marley
julian marley
Julian Marley

Spragga Benz


Stephen Marley performs RockStone at The Get Together

Press Play to view all photos from the Get Together 

Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Reggae Artists Unite at 9Mile Music Festival 2015 in Miami 

Photos and Story by Empress K for
Damian Marley Stephen Marley Julian Marley MiamiJulian, Damian, and Stephen Marley
Cool yet sunny skies made for a beautiful start to the 22nd 9Mile Music Festival taking place at the Miami Dade County Fairgrounds on Saturday, February 14th. The annual festival featured a great mixture of conscious Reggae Artists all sharing the same positive message of peace, love and unity.   Tanya Stephens playing a mid afternoon set gave a powerful performance while acknowledging and encouraging the ladies in the audience.  Additional strong performances followed  with sets by Hawaiian Reggae Band, The Green; Rasta Elder, Iqulah Rastafari; Jamaican DJ, Capleton;  and American Reggae / Rock band, Soja.  After a final band change,  Jo Mersa Marley opened the final set for the evening.    

Jesse Royal and Jo Mersa Jesse Royal and Jo Mersa Marley
In a brilliant move, Jo Mersa introduced Jesse Royal to the stage while Jesse’s band The King Suns seamlessly replaced Stephen Marley’s band to temporarily back the singers on Jesse’s hit song Modern Day Judas.   Next up Julian Marley, Stephen Marley, and Damian Marley performed numerous song selections and collaborations.    Stephen Marley welcomed surprise guests Spragga Benz and Determine  on stage during the set, followed by Capleton joining for a great live rendition of their Rockstone collaboration.

Artist collaborations were definitely a common theme for the day as many of earlier sets also featured superb joint efforts including Soja with Damian Marley,  Soja with J Boog,  and Soja with The Green. It was wonderful to see the mutual respect this diverse group of artists had for one another, further conveying the message of one love and unity to festival attendees. 

Enjoy our photos from the festival below.   A full slide show of all photos appears below as well.  Also, m
ake sure to check out more of our photos in Issue 8 of Island Stage Magazine.    Click here

Reggae Reflection 9Mile Music Festival Photo Gallery 
(click on each photo to enlarge)

Tanya Stephens 9 Mile Music Festival
Tanya Stephens
Capleton 9 Mile Music Festival
Iqulah Rastafari
Iqulah Rastafari

The Green

Julian Marley
Julian Marley
Stephen Marley
Stephen Marley


Damian Marley and son Elijah
Next Generation Marley taking over!
Damian Marley Miami
Damian Marley

Scenes from the 9Mile Music Festival

Press Play to view all photos form the 9Mile Music Festival 

Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Rebel Salute 2015, The Preservation of Reggae Music

third world rebel saluteThird Word members Cat Coore, Richard Daley and AJ Brown
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Commentary & Photos by Sista Irie, Reggae Photojournalist 
Republished courtesy of Island-Stage

The Preservation of Reggae Music is much more than a noble cause, it is a national imperative. A country so overwhelmingly rich in talent and recognized the world over for its musical heritage, would only be foolish to not nourish the cultural legacy blessed upon them. Undeniably, Jamaica can use its cultural heritage to stabilize and enhance its society. This is one nation where many need the basics of life, including the opportunity to be successful and to advance as an international leader of influence reflected through the arts and creative industries.

Rebel Salute has grown into Jamaica’s most internationally acclaimed roots reggae music festival. What began as a birthday celebration for Tony Rebel, is now a global attraction, a cultural reflection of immense talent from past and current generations and a perfect blend of ‘all that is right’ with Jamaican music. Twenty six hours across the span of two nights, sixty artists including bands, singers and individually renown musical legends captivate a massive audience from dusk to dawn, an experience when night becomes day like the twinkling of a star. The vital importance of Rebel Salute, a stage show defining musical history from rising stars to historical legacies, goes far beyond entertainment. The quickening pace of the passing of reggae’s founding fathers has made festivals such as Rebel Salute a critical form of documentation and crucial to a future generation’s knowledge of their cultural identity.

This year’s featured headliners includes two bands that have made significant contributions to the quality and influence of reggae music for over thirty years. Third World and Inner Circle played major roles establishing a level of professionalism and creative sound leading to worldwide recognition for Jamaican music. Both have experienced the hurtful loss with the passing of their key singers, Bunny Ruggs from Third World and Jacob Miller of Inner Circle. The reality is their creative spirit cannot be broken and each continues the never ending circle of musical life. AJ Brown performing as lead singer for Third World along with the collaboration of Chronixx performing a remake of Jacob Miller’s Tenement Yard with Inner Circle was nothing short of genius, captivating and energizing the hope and future of reggae music in the hearts of the fans. The future shines bright for both bands and the circle will NOT be broken. Reggae music will continue to be parented and nurtured by the extreme talent of both old and young. What goes around eventually comes around.

chronixx Rebel SaluteChronixx
Roots reggae music known for it’s spiritually injected messages spiced with social commentary has shown it’s endurance over time. Slackness and degradation imposed in various cycles of Jamaican music may occasionally capture the attention of young people who have lost faith in a viable future. However, it is weak in sustainability. The slackness era of negativity is being currently replaced by a resurgence of creativity exemplified in the works of the Rasta youth as they bring forth the fruits of the past while influencing and guiding the heartbeat of the future. The circle cannot be broken once the intellectual tenets of spiritual fullness and self pride fills the gaps of mental vacancy and delivers a consciousness of determination and political militancy.

Some say ganja is the healing of the nation. In my opinion, Rastafari, the very culture shamelessly shunned and oppressed at the highest level by those hired to protect Jamaican culture, is the real healing of the nation. The spirituality of Rastafari is the key to a better world. The belief that ‘I and I’ is a relationship between oneself and the Creator, that unity is the law of life, that understanding one’s history leads to strength and self confidence and that love is the key to living life, are principles that promote peace and justice. There can be no better prophesy for the healing of the world. Salvation is ‘alive and well’ in the heart of Rastafari, and incorporated into prophetic guidance embedded in the music.

As Bob Marley once said:

“Herb is a plant”

“Herb is so good for everything. Why these people who want to do so much good for everyone, who call themselves government and this and that, why them say you must not use the herb? You see, them say you must not use the herb because it makes you rebel…….Against what?” If ganja releases one from mental slavery, then we must defiantly reveal the truth via rebel music. As we begin to experience decriminalization and legalization of ganja on a national and international level, the full circle brings us from a criminal perspective to the recognition of sacred medicinal healing. Roots reggae music will continue to be the avenue to administer and reveal the principles of Rastafari livity”.

Reggae music is the documentary of universal love and happiness. However, this message of love may sometimes be delivered with militancy. It is the voice of the people. The intellectual overstanding of reality and truth will always make it through as society can only take so much oppression and injustice before rebelling. The people will be heard and the obvious difference between right and wrong is clearly evident in the lyrics of roots reggae music. Good over evil will continue to prevail and the circle will remain unbroken.

The hard work of Tony Rebel, Flames Productions and his crew has contributed greatly to the forward movement and recognition of reggae music. In an interview with Tony on The Conscious Party, Tony reveals the intent of the festival is to establish a family event designed to highlight the best reggae has to offer while opening up opportunity to new rising talent. Tony works diligently behind the scenes promoting the critical need for government and corporate support of Jamaica’s cultural and artistic industries.

There were many incredible performances this year at Rebel Salute. Nearly every artist demonstrated the highest level of talent, maturity and professionalism. The rising stars assure us, the circle will remain unbroken, as they are developing wings of the future. A few performances that stood out from an amazing line-up include Inner Circle with a guest appearance by ChronixxThird World with new lead singer, AJ Brown, Jah9Queen IfricaFreddy McGregorJesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid. Another reflective moment came with the release of balloons commemorating the passing of reggae greats such as Bunny Ruggs, Jacob Miller, and all who have been lost over the years. Luciano brings a sense of serene joy and love with the morning sun. Even after 12 hours running back and forth with a heavy camera, I was mesmerized by each performance and filled with the confidence that reggae is in good hands. The circle of love and music will continue to be the lifeline of the future. It will remain impenetrable.

Be sure to subscribe Island Stage Magazine which will feature more on Rebel Salute in the next issue!!

Enjoy a selection of Rebel Salute Photos in the Gallery below. 

Images Rebel Salute 2015 © Sista Irie Photography


Photos & Highlights: 11th Annual Montreal International Reggae Festival 8/15 - 8/17

Story and Photography by Empress K (Reggae Reflection)  
PictureMaxi Priest
The 11th year of the Montreal International Reggae Festival (MIRF) officially kicked off on Friday, August 15th with Etana and Maxi Priest headlining the opening evening. I arrived as Maxi Priest was starting his set.  Maxi Priest's last performance at the Montreal Reggae festival was in 2006 so fans were eager to get their chance to see Maxi perform again.  On tour in support of his 2014 Easy to Love album release, he quickly won over the crowd performing old favorites, mixed with new favorites "Easy to Love" and "Holiday" from his new album.   Maxi in high spirits gave what some audience members referred to as an electrifying performance. Backed by his own band and accompanied on several songs by Beniton the Menace, a Jamaican American rapper, Maxi Priest steadily performed hit after hit for the enthusiastic fans.   The audience had a preview of Pinchers in advance of his appearance scheduled for Sunday when Maxi Priest called him to appear briefly as a surprise guest.  Towards the end of his set, Maxi Priest also included  a well received salute to Michael Jackson.  Overall, Maxi Priest's delivery of his unique blend of R&B and Reggae was a great conclusion to the opening night of the Montreal International Reggae Festival.

Taddy P on Bass Montreal
Taddy P on Bass
Maxi Priest Montreal
Maxi Priest
Beniton the Menace Montreal
Beniton the Menace
Sean Paul MontrealSean Paul
Day two of the event for at least as far as I can recall,  has been known as dancehall night.  This  year  MIRF again paid homage to the Soca lovers in the house with the line-up addition of Bajan Soca Queen, Alison Hinds.  Dancehall fans were entertained by up and coming Jamaican artist Kalado who kicked off the headliner portion of the day.   The afternoon sets from Kiprich and QQ kept the audience engaged as Kiprich called an audience member on stage for a "wine" contest and  both QQ and Kiprich made their way into the audience during their sets to greet fans in the general admission section.  As the evening started, DeMarco took to the stage followed by Alison Hinds, and Sean Paul backed by his own band  Badda Banz and the Badda Gyalz dancers.  Even the downpour of rain that increased in intensity during the later sets of the evening  could not contain the excitement of the crowd. Many young Sean Paul fans came early in the afternoon armed with umbrellas so they could secure a front row spot in the general admission area.   Allison Hinds had the crowd moving with her performance of Roll it Gal and Thundah.   Sean Paul's high energy set  closed out the evening as a sea of umbrellas swayed  to the infectious dancehall beats of Sean Paul's  popular songs such as I'm Still in LoveGimme the Light , and Temperature to new songs from Sean Paul's latest album Full Frequency.  

Montreal fans brave the rain to enjoy Day 2 of the Festival! 


Day 2 -  Soca and Dancehall performances 

QQ Montreal
Alison Hinds Montreal
Alison Hinds
Demarco Montreal
Kiprich Montreal
PictureMarcia Griffiths
For the final day of the festival, it was wonderful to wake up and see the sun shining! I carried an umbrella just in case, however no rain was going to interfere with my last full day in Montreal!   

The afternoon set of headliners was off to a great start when Pinchers entered the stage. Dressed in a stylish red suit and classic bad man style Fedora hat, Pinchers breezed thru his set which included fan favorite songs Enemies (Borderline), Champion Bubbler, and had the crowd singing along with his signature hit Bandolero. 

Looking regal and elegant in a flowing gown of the Jamaican colors of  yellow, green and black, Marcia Griffiths performed well known selections such as Dreamland, Feel Like Jumping and her trademark song and dance Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide). During her performance, a representative from the Consulate of Jamaica in Montreal in conjunction with Eric Blagrove, President of the MIRF presented Marcia Griffiths with a Life Time Achievement Award  for her outstanding music career spanning five decades. She proceeded to close out her set with her popular song No, No, No,  then  brought a living breath to the timeless Bob Marley classic, Redemption Song

I-Octane backed by the Ruff Kutt band  had the crowd in a frenzy as he performed crowd favorite songs including, Gyal a Gimme Bun  and Missing You Like Crazy. He also performed a substantial amount of his set off stage at the sound tent thrilling the audience in the general admission section with hits such as Love Di Vibe and was joined by Exco Levi for More than A Friend.  I-Octane continued to perform a powerful set as dusk transitioned into evening. 

Sanchez was up next  bringing his own band along.   Sanchez sang his classics such as Lonely Won't Leave me Alone, sampling a section of Pass the Kutchie and Live it Up with the audience members enthusiastically singing along.

Pinchers Montreal
Sanchez Montreal
I-Octane Montreal
Ruff Kutt returned to the stage once again to accompany the evening's headliner, Luciano.  The Messenger delivered an uplifting and spiritual finale to close out the 11th Annual Montreal International Reggae Festival. Luciano certainly made it up to the fans that were disappointed that he could not be on last year's festival by performing many songs that Luciano is known for including popular hits such as Messenger and Never Give up my Pride.  

Luciano Montreal
Montreal Reggae Festival audience
MIRF Audience on the Final Night of the Festival
Luciano Montreal

CKUT 90.3FMCKUT Staff interview Richard "Bugs" Burnett from the Montreal Gazette!
Throughout the weekend, DJs including Howard "Stretch" Carr, Pat Dillon, and Janice Dayle from Montreal's leading College Reggae radio station CKUT had a dedicated booth to stream live audio and interview artists after their performance.  A media tent also provided an opportunity to photograph and interview most of the artists. 

Alison Hinds
Alison Hinds
Montreal International Reggae Festival Entrance to MIRF
Last year the Montreal International Reggae Festival reached a milestone anniversary for its tenth year.   Keeping up with the tradition of making the festival bigger and better each year, the Montreal International Reggae Festival proved that once again as the festival has evolved into a premiere destination Reggae Festival.   As always, I am looking forward to see what's in store for next year! 

This year I have included tips on traveling to Montreal.  See our tips below in the Destination Montreal section. 

Press Play to view the  full Slide Show of Photos from The Montreal Reggae Festival

Destination Montreal! 

Old Port Montreal
Tips on traveling from the US 

How to get there

By Car -  Montreal is approximately 1 1/2 hours from  Burlington, VT, 5 1/2 hours from Boston, and 6 hours from NYC.   

From points North , head towards Burlington, VT.  I drive Route 89 from Bow, NH alll the way to the Canadian Border in Highgate Springs, VT.   Exit 21 in Swanton has a few gas stations and convenience stores. It is advisable to fill your tank there before crossing the border. 

By Bus:   Greyhound has service to Montreal. Check online for other services to Montreal. 

By Air:  International flights arrive at the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeu International Airport which is 20 kilometers (12 miles)  from the location of the Montreal Reggae Festival in the Old Port of Montreal. 

At the Border:    If you are a US Citizen, you must have your US passport with you.  If you are a US Permanent Resident bring your green card and appropriate valid passport.  Check for specific info on traveling to Canada. 

Where to stay:   Montreal has countless places to stay in and outside of the city.  Familiar hotel chains are common throughout Montreal.  Staying just outside the city is less expensive than staying in downtown Montreal, although the ambiance of staying in downtown Montreal has a lot to offer. This year the "Those Travel Bugz" travel team offered packages combining hotel accommodations and  festival tickets.  Check the MIRF website for more information.

What to Bring / Wear:  Check the weather forecast and be prepared for anything!  Typically the weather is quite warm in mid August, however it can be cooler  in the evening.  When rain is in the forecast make sure to have a rain poncho and umbrella on hand.  Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat,  smart phone (my US AT&T service worked great - just remember to turn your mobile data off before you cross the border to a avoid international data charges), and Canadian cash for the food and merchandise vendors.  Outside of the festival grounds, there are banks and businesses in town that take debit / credit cards.  You will not be able to bring any food or drinks into the festival. There are many food and beverage vendors within the festival grounds and you will be able to come and go from the festival .  Each time you enter the festival you will have to go through the security checkpoint. 

Currency and Credit Card Transaction Fees:  Before you leave home it is best to convert some money into Canadian currency.  While many places will accept American dollars, the exchange rate is not always favorable and they will charge you extra to convert the currency.    If you need more money once you are in Canada, you can use your bank ATM card at most of the Candian banks.  Normal bank fees apply and they will automatically calculate the exchange rate and disburse funds in Canadian dollars. 

In addition to the local banks, there are many stores in downtown Montreal that specialize in currency exchange for a small fee. 

Before you leave, check with your credit card company to inquire if there is an additional surcharge to use your credit card in Canada and let them know you will be traveling.  Most companies have an extra 3 - 5% charge per transaction.  I discovered that my American Express card did not have a surcharge, however I also found out that many places only accept Master Card  or Visa. 

Language:  The official language of Montreal, Quebec is French, however in Montreal the majority of people that I have encountered speak English as well and it has never been an issue for me in the 30 + years that I have been traveling to Montreal. 

Area Activities:  There is so much to see and do in Montreal and the surrounding areas. If you can stay for a few more days it will be well worth your visit.

Most of all enjoy your Montreal experience and come back again soon! 
Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Modern Day History at The Apollo Theater for the One Love! Bob Marley Tribute - Photos & Story

Story and Photography by Empress K (Reggae Reflection)  
PictureApollo Theater Marquis
While I was no where near NYC when Bob Marley made his historic debut at the Apollo Theater 35 years ago in October of 1979, I  realized recently I was meant to be there for this special Bob Marley Tribute. Let me digress for a moment.  It’s been somewhat of an emotional year for me. My mom passed away in July after a short illness and I arranged to have her graveside service a month later on August 27th in her home state of Maine.   It was a beautiful small celebration of her life with people representing every aspect of her 85 years including grade school classmates, high school friends and residents in her hometown.  Before returning home to the Boston area, I spent the afternoon in the Old Port section of Portland shopping with my cousin who I found out not too long ago actually attended a Bob Marley concert with 4th row center seats in Boston in 1980!  As we browsed in some of the stores,  a random sighting caught my eye.  It was a replica of an old Bob Marley poster. I looked it over and since the photo of Bob was not that clear I hesitated and put it back.  We proceeded to have lunch and shop a bit more.  As my cousin and I were about to say our goodbyes, I felt compelled to go back to the store with her and buy the Bob Marley poster, fuzzy picture and all.

Fast forward a couple months. I’ve become aware of the Apollo Theater Bob Marley Tribute in NY and immediately decide I will be there for this classic Reggae show right after Thanksgiving. I’ve always wanted to go to the Apollo Theater and this is a perfect opportunity. Thanksgiving morning comes around which is exactly three months to the day of my mom’s service and I am posting online about the upcoming show. All of a sudden, a lightbulb goes off in my head.  Where is that poster that I bought and what show was it?  I locate the poster quickly and sure enough I find that it indeed is a replica poster of a Bob Marley Apollo Theater show in 1979. The month is off, but everything else about the poster is eerily reminiscent of the current flyer design minus the fuzzy photo!   Apparently my universe knew I would be going to this show in NY before I did!

1979 Replica Bob Marley 
Apollo Theater Poster 


2014 Bob Marley Tribute 
Apollo Theater Poster


Reggae Ambassadors - Third World takes the stage

Third World Band at the ApolloThird World Band kicks of the evening
The show was nothing short of historic. Keeping with the schedule of the original Bob Marley debut, there were two shows on the same evening. The 8:00pm show which I attended sold out in advance and the 11:00pm sold out shortly thereafter. The Apollo Theater was everything I imagined it to be; a beautiful theater which has obviously been restored to its original glory. 

 The world renowned Reggae Ambasadors, Third World, kicked off the evening appropriately with their popular hit of the same name.  Their charismatic singer A. J. Brown taking on the new lead vocals role did not miss a beat as Third World continued  their set with other classic songs such as 96 Degrees in the Shade and Try Jah Love.  

Cat Coore - Cello Solo 'Redemption Song'
Cat Coore, Richard Daley, AJ Brown
Stephen “Cat” Coore performed a beautiful Cello solo rendition of Redemption Song  and they had everyone on their feet dancing when they performed their hit Now That We’ve Found Love.  Special guest Maxi Priest joined them on stage and performed two Bob Marley classics,  Jammin and Turn your Lights Down Low much to the audience’s delight. 
Cat Coore

The Wailers celebrate with Ky-mani Marley

PictureThe Wailers
Next up was The Wailers featuring Aston "Family Man" Barrett on bass.  Barrett, an original member of The Wailers was present for the 1979 debut performance.  Dwayne Anglin provided lead vocals as the band performed a tight set of songs including  No more Trouble, Exodus, and Heathen among others.   

PictureKy-mani Marley
Ky-Mani Marley making a not so common appearance in NYC was definitely a highlight of the set performing two of his father’s songs. It was beautiful to see Ky-mani perform in front of the giant Bob Marley backdrop overlooking the stage.  Surely Ky-mani was making his father proud during his brilliant performance of  I Shot the Sheriff and Crazy Baldheads.

Surprise Guest Lauryn Hill thrills the audience 

When the stage crew brought out a few more mics, I’m sure members of the audience were wondering who else was going to come out since all the special guests had already made their appearance. Well, the audience was in for a special surprise!  Lauryn Hill was announced and the fans excitedly rushed to the stage when Lauryn appeared with her three supporting vocalists. Lauryn looking exquisite in a long black and white ensemble with a matching wide brim black hat was spot on with her performance of Zimbabwe followed by Is this Love

One Love Finale

PictureOne Love Finale
The evening ended on a perfect note with a grand finale of everyone back on stage singing One Love.  The One Love! Tribute to Bob Marley certainly made for another historical night at the Apollo Theater.  I’m sure my mom was happy I was there to witness this modern day history.  It was meant to be! 

Tis the Season - Scenes from 125th Street in Harlem

Press Play to view all images in Slideshow below

Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Reggae Lovers Worldwide attend the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise 2014

Story  by Grace Vanriel  Marjorie Flash | Photography  by Empress K  (Reggae Reflection)
WTJRC PartyWTJRC Sailing Kickoff Party aboard the Norwegian Pearl
Miami, Florida…The inaugural debut of The Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise (WTJRC) set sail aboard the Norwegian Pearl on Monday October 20, 2014 filled to the brim with Reggae music lovers representing 42 countries from as far as New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Japan, South America, Europe, various Caribbean islands and of course the USA.  Setting a record as one of the fastest ticket sales of cruise ship passage the much anticipated event  that SOLD OUT in within weeks of its announcement was the brainchild of Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley who produced the event and co-hosted it with his brothers Julian ‘JuJu Royal’ Marley and Stephen ‘Ragga’ Marley.   The 5-day excursion bound for Jamaica W.I. from Miami, Florida stopped in two of the island's breathtaking destinations, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.  As we sailed the high seas, Reggae music featured prominently from morning to sunrise with very short breaks in-between; people could be found rocking and jamming, smiling and vibing at any given time of the day or night on several decks which hosted a multitude of specialty nightclub type venues.   Everyone we encountered, passengers, artists and crew members shared friendly exchanges and many new friendships were forged crowning this trip the ultimate “One Love Boat!”

(Click on image thumbnails below to display larger)
Departing Miami
Fan from Hawaii
Fan from Hawaii
Fans from Sweden
Fans from the US
Enjoying the music and vibes
Maliika and Grace enjoying a moment at the Press Conference
Colleagues Maliika and Grace enjoying a moment at the Press Conference
Black Am I, Julian and Damian Marley kicked off the first evening concert series with earth shaking performances that set the tone and pulse for performances to come. 
Black Am I
Julian Marley
Damian Marley
It was no surprise though that Wailing Souls, Tarrus Riley, and Shaggy alongside Rayvon brought their A game performances on Day 2.  Shaggy celebrated a birthday during the cruise and received a special surprise as the fabulous radio show host Diva Nikki Z of WZMX Hot97 greeted him with a birthday cake as the thunderous crowd of attendees sang happy birthday.  

The Wailing Souls
A packed crowd for the evening's entertainment
Tarrus Riley
Diva Nikki Z presents a cake in celebration of Shaggy's birthday
Shaggy closes out his set on Day 2
PictureJah Cure
Day 3 docked in Montego Bay leaving us to explore colorful island shops, local restaurants with enough time for a visit to the pristine beaches; reboarding the ship towards evening the cruise picked up Jamaican songbird, Etana “The StrongOne,” singjay Busy Signal, dancehall deejay Bounty Killer and Reggae crooner Jah Cure whose set was simply spectacular leaving the frenzied crowd begging for more even after a generous encore.  

Busy Signal-WTJRC
Busy Signal
Bounty Killer-WTJRC
Bounty Killer
Jah Cure-WTJRC
Jah Cure
PictureIn Port at Ocho Rios
Day 4 docked in Ocho Rios offering yet another well organized fun filled day gathering with fantastic Reggae music at the Margaritaville Bar & Grill followed by more time for exploring the island; after returning to the ship the scheduled show gave us more blazing performances this time by dancehall artists Wayne Marshall, Cham (formerly Baby Cham) and Sean Paul. 

Wayne Marshall-WTJRC
Wayne Marshall
Wayne Marshall-WTJRC
Wayne Marshall
Damian Marley-Wayne Marshall-WTJRC
Damian Marley joins Wayne Marshall on Stage "Go Hard"
Sean Paul-WTJRC
Sean Paul
Sean Paul-WTJRC
Sean Paul & Badda Banz
Sean Paul and a Badda Gyalz dancer
Damian Marley-Sean Paul-WTJRC
Damian Marley joins Sean Paul on Stage "Riot"
WTJRC-FreestyleAn impromptu Free Style Session for the Final Performance.
The final show on Day 5 was marred by some rain but proceeded with stellar performances by Christopher Ellis, Jo Mersa, Morgan Heritage and a brief set by Stephen Marley that brought out the huge crowd before the show was suddenly aborted from the top deck main stage and moved inside ship because of the weather.  Nonetheless, the performances and party vibes continued undaunted as every artist on board took to the stage free-styling until the wee hours of the morning. The free style nature of their performances created a great deal of excitement and was absolutely priceless!

Chris Ellis-WTJRC
Chris Ellis
Jo Mersa
Gramps Morgan-WTJRC
Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage
Stephen Marley
Peetah Morgan-WTJRC
Peetah Morgan of Morgan Heritage
Mighty Crown-WTJRCMighty Crown
In-between the high powered lineup of artists, music was spun each night at the various nightclubs by popular sound systems and DJ's like David Rodigan, Stone Love, Bobby Kondors and Jabba, Diva Nikki Z, Renaissance Disco, Liquid, DJ Norie, Notorious VOG & JKool, Mighty Crown, Kingston 12 Shinehead & Papaloti keeping party goers up all night.  This was a sleepless cruise because nobody wanted to miss a single moment! The hard to get next to Marley clan, participating artists and musicians could be spotted nightly at the various nightclubs mingling with the crowd and taking one-on-one pictures alongside their fans.

Jabba-ZJ Liquid-WTJRC
Jabba and ZJ Liquid
Irie Jam Radio-WTJRC
Members of the Irie Jam Radio Family
Renaissance Sound-WTJRC
Ana ( interviews Renaissance Sound
Stone Love-Renaissance Sound-Notorious Vog-Jkool-WTJRC
Rori of Stone Love, Notorious VOG, Renaissance Sound, and Jkool
Mighty Crown DJ
David Rodigan-WTJRC
David Rodigan
Diva Nikki Z-WTJRC
Diva Nikki Z
The WTJRC can rightfully be hailed an unforgettable experience as evidenced by the fact that applications with deposits for rebooking from this trip’s attendance roster reportedly ran at 95% for the year 2015 “despite” the fact that the dates nor concert lineups have not yet been determined. As reports further go, there is an active waiting list into the thousands and if those numbers are completely accurate then one thing is certain, the Marley’s will have to secure a much larger vessel in 2015 to accommodate everyone interested in booking passage.  Yeahman, the WTJRC was that good!!!

Press Play to view the WTJRC slideshow of images

Grace Vanriel is the founder & CEO of Live Reggae NYC; Co-founder & Strategic Marketing Executive for The Reggaeholics Movement; a Senior Correspondent for &; Contributing Writer for WhereItzAtMagazine and the Caribbean Correspondent for CitiLyfe Magazine.

Marjorie Flash is the founder & CEO of MyFlash Photography traveling the world as a photo-journalist capturing hard to get photos and providing cutting-edge entertainment coverage; she is a contributing writer and staff photographer for WhereItzAtMagazine, the official photographer for the Reggaeholics Movement, contributing photographer for and CitiLyfe Magazine.

Empress K is the Founder, Editor, and Primary Photo-Journalist of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition providing quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  Reggae Events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook


Photos & Highlights: The Reggae in the Hills Experience #RITH2014 June 13 - 15

Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor
Calaveras CountyWelcome to Calaveras County
Welcome to Calaveras County  -  The sign says it all.  After  a nearly three hour drive through the scenic goldrush country route from  San Francisco to Calaveras County,  I knew that the Reggae in the Hills experience was close by.  The summer Reggae festival season kicked off a bit earlier for me than usual as I headed to the West Coast to experience the 3rd  Annual Reggae in the Hills.   Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, this young and expanding  three day camping festival at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds featured an eclectic mixture of top Caribbean Reggae, Cali Roots Rock Reggae and Hawaiian Reggae acts.   

Reggae in the Hills Line-upReggae in the Hills Line-up
Over the course of 3 days, over 24 Reggae bands were featured on one of the two live band stages.   A third stage located within the main campground area featured additional late night performances, which were hosted by Stay Positive Sound on Friday and Mystic Roots on Saturday.  Gates opened at noon on Friday allowing early guests to set up their campsite in time for the 3:00pm kickoff of live music.   

The headliners for the opening evening included the Californian Roots Reggae Band, Fortunate Youth, back by popular demand for their 3rd year in a row.    New to the line-up this year was headliner Collie Buddz from the Isle of Bermuda promoting his recent hit single "Light it Up".  Collie Buddz  started off his set with his popular song "I feel so good" , which summed up the opening night experience for the crowd at Reggae in the Hills.  He continued that  feel good vibe with a string of well known hits from his extensive song catalog including his mega hits "Come Around" and "Blind to You". 

Reggae in the Hills at the Calaveras County Campground

Calaveras County Fairgrounds Reggae in the Hills
A man made creek winds it way through perfectly shaded stage front areas
A father and son stroll through the garden mister, a place to cool off mid-day.
View of the Main Stage

 Fortunate Youth and Collie Buddz headline opening night. 

Fortunate Youth
Collie Buddz
Collie Buddz
Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth
Collie Buddz

Day 2 of Reggae in the Hills

Marlon AhserMarlon Asher " The Ganja Farmer"
Saturday was the longest day of the festival, jam packed  with live music throughout the day.  Live music  started early at 11:00am and went straight through until after midnight.  Bands performed on both the main stage and on the nearby side stage to keep band change time to a minimum. 

King Schascha a native of Trinidad and Tobago kicked off the day with a set on the main stage.  Marlon Asher also hailing from Trinidad and Tobago performed for the 2nd year in a row  spicing up the mid-afternoon with an enjoyable set including  his well known Ganja anthem "The Ganja Farmer".   

Junior Toots  another fan favorite band returned to Reggae in the Hills for his 2nd time and had a great set on the side stage.  Other  popular acts from past years were also present for the 2014 edition of Reggae in the Hills, including Hawaiian and Cali  Reggae bands such as Natty Vibes, Mystic Roots, Arden Park Roots.

Luciano on tour with  the Cali based Jamaican Reggae band IKronik started with an opening set by IKronik.  Luciano then raised the conscious Reggae vibes to yet another level, delivering a spiritual performance for his many fans.  Fans rushed to greet Luciano after his performance where he took time to have a meet and greet for autographs and photo opportunities. 

Making their debut performance at Reggae in the Hills, the highly anticipated performance of  Tribal Seeds did not disappoint the crowd with their high energy set.  Tribal Seeds, based out of San Diego made their appearance at Reggae in the Hills prior to commencing their tour in support of their 4th album "Representing", released in May.  Best known for fusing Rock with Roots Reggae, their latest release debuted at number one on both the Billboard Reggae and iTunes Charts. 

For a late evening set, there was no better choice than to have veteran performer Junior Reid close out a stellar day of music  with the next generation of his One Blood family on hand consisting of  Andrew Blood, Wada Blood 
and Young JR  "Ju Ju Blood".  Junior Reid's set included many of his  popular songs and a preview of material from his upcoming album. The climax of his set occurred when he performed his anthem song "One Blood" with its powerful message of love and unity in both English and Spanish.  As a final part of his set, the entire One Blood Family joined on stage to end the evening on a dancehall vibe. 

Lead Singer Steven Rene Jacobo of Tribal Seeds
Young J.R. JuJu Reid
Jr Toots Reggae in the Hills
Junior Toots
E.N. Young of Tribal Seeds
Wada Blood
Wada Blood
One Blood Family
One Blood Family
Junior Reid
Junior Reid
Junior Reid Reggae in the Hills
Junior Reid
Kava Jah Ikronik
Kava Jah of Ikronik
Prezident BrownPrezident Brown
The beautiful weather continued for day three with daytime temps in the 80s.    The mood on Sunday was that of relaxed energy as the festival was winding down.  Sunday afternoon performances by Hawaiian Reggae acts Mike Love and Natty Vibes had fans of all ages waving their  red, gold, and green Hawaiian Flags in the air.   Prezident Brown, a Jamaican artist who has a popular presence on the West Coat festival scene closed out the festival  and had the audience dancing  to his infectious beats and positive lyrics.   During one section of a song where Prezident Brown sings to  the audience  "Do You Love Me?", he received a resounding response of "yes" from the audience leaving no doubt that we will see Prezident Brown again soon.

Mike Love Reggae in the Hills
Mike Love performs an acoustic set
Prezident Brown
Prezident Brown

Reggae in the Hills
Fans enjoying Natty Vibes
Reggae in the Hills
Fans enjoying the afternoon set
Reggae in the Hills
Reggae in the Hills provided something for everyone. Plenty of live music with a wide array of food and  merchandise vendors throughout the fairgrounds.  It also featured an indoor skateboard park with a skating contest,  art displays including several live art locations near the stage, daily yoga, a disc golf tournament, and late night after parties.  All of which was offered at a very reasonable price and contained within an intimate setting that allowed attendees to interact with the musicians in a peaceful environment.

From a media and photography perspective, it was a pleasure to be an official media sponsor. I have to give props to the organizers of the festival.  A designated media building was professionally organized with a schedule of  interview & press conference times with band members .  Appropriate photography and videography credentials were given to take performance shots.  This allowed the various media houses present  to provide fans with quality Reggae in the Hills coverage.

Overall, the Reggae in the Hills team thought of everything to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone and certainly the warm hospitality of the entire team and all festival attendees made this East Coast native feel right at home in Northern California.  I'm already looking forward to plan for next year's Reggae in the Hills experience. Maybe one day soon I will also consider camping! 

Faces at Reggae in the Hills

Reggae in the Hills Logistics

How to get there Angels Camp, CA is just a few hours drive from the airports located in San Francisco,  Oakland, and Sacramento.   I chose to fly to San Fransisco and visit some friends before commencing the 3 hour drive through the scenic rolling hills along route 4 in Goldrush country.   Make sure you have a full gas tank as there are long stretches of road along the way between towns. 

Where to stay:  Reggae in the Hills is a full camping festival with RV and Tent facilities.  The weekend pass included camping at a very affordable price especially when booking at earlybird rates (85 in advance) and 120 at the gate.   If you are like me and are not so much into camping there are several small reasonably priced hotels in Angels Camp to choose from that are only a couple miles away.  It is best to reserve early to guarantee a place to stay.   

Recommended Hotel:  The Travel Lodge just a couple miles away in downtown Angels Camp met my needs perfectly with friendly staff,  and clean and spacious rooms complete with wi-fi access and a free hot breakfast. 

What to Bring / Wear:  Expect desert weather conditions. In mid-June the highs during the day can range from the mid 80s to low 100s and it can plummet to the 50s at night.  If you are camping be sure to come prepared with all your camping gear and warm clothing for the cool desert nights.   Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat,  water,  smart phone (my AT&T service worked great), and cash for the food and merchandise vendors.  There are banks and businesses in town that take credit / debit cards.  

Area Activities:  Stay for a few more days and take full  advantage of the sights of the surrounding areas and enjoy nature in Gold Country at its best.  For more info, check the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce. 

Press Play to view the full slide show of Reggae in the Hills Photos 

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook

Photos:  Faces of the 22nd Annual Cambridge Carnival September 7, 2014

Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor
The Cambridge Carnival celebrated its 22nd year on Sunday, September 7th.  Thousands of attendees lined the 1.3 mile parade route to watch the Grand Parade in all its splendor of fabulous costume bands, dancers, and pulsating rhythms that represented numerous Caribbean Islands. 

"Cambridge Carnival is a colorful and festive celebration rooted in African traditions. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade and an opportunity to celebrate Cambridge’s diversity, enjoy international foods, and purchase multicultural crafts from around the world!"   -
PictureShawn Jon representing D'Midas International.

The Cambridge Carnival is the last Trinidad style carnival of the summer in the Northeast region.  Other US carnivals in the Northeast precede the Cambridge carnival;  Boston & Worcester carnivals are held in August the weekend prior to the NYC West Indian Day parade on Labor Day weekend.    Many of the MAS Bands participating in the Cambridge carnival are from Boston. D'Midas International, Socaholics, and Soca Associates to name a few also compete in several of the other area Caribbean Carnivals.

A large viewing stage for judges is stationed near Kendall Square along with an international performance stage nearby for live bands, a children’s carnival, and a large array of international food and merchandise vendors at the end of the parade route.  Something for everyone in the family to enjoy on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Faces of the Cambridge Caribbean Carnival


Press Play to view more photos from the Cambridge Carribbean Carnival

Cambridge Carnival Parade Route & Carnival Links

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook