Excitement, Fun & Something for Everyone at #GroovininthePark 2014! 
Story  by Grace Vanriel  - Founder and CEO of Live Reggae NYC 
Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com

Groovin in the ParkL.U.S.T performs an afternoon set @ Groovin In the Park
The fourth annual staging of Groovin in the Park on June 29, 2014 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY can be summed up in one word and that's spectacular! Billed as one of the premiere outdoor concerts in the city, the festival seamlessly blended outstanding up-and-coming artists with the crown jewels of Reggae, Pop, Rock and Rhythm & Blues for a record breaking estimate of 25,000 enthusiastic fans out in full force, and ready to be entertained.

Marcia Griffith Groovin in the ParkMarcia Griffiths
This year's event delivered everything Groovin in the Park producers promised leaving attendees noticeably exuberant. At the top of my excellence list, celebrated headliner and the Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths shared the joy of her illustrious career spanning 50-years in Reggae in a special segment. Recognized as one of the hardest working artists in the business bar none, the celebration was filled with touching moments as Ms. Griffiths backed by the famed 809 Band that reunited original members for this historical occasion including: Christopher Birch, Winston 'Boo Pee' Bowen Mikey Fletcher, Dean Fraser, Leebert 'Gibby' Morrison, Ronald 'Nambo' Robinson and Desi Jones pinch hitting for touring drummer Paul Kastick. Loyal friend, colleague and another Reggae legend Judy Mowatt (whom Ms. Griffiths worked alongside in the I-threes, the backup vocalists for Bob Marley that also included Rita Marley) took the time to make an appearance, something that has not happened in New York since the September 20 1980 concert at Madison Square Garden when they performed in what was to be one of Bob Marley's final three major concert dates (that also includes September 23rd at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, PA and in 1981 on May 30th at the Kallerstadion in Zurich, Switzerland). 

Even with Roy Wilkins Park nearly filled to capacity her set was chocked full of intimate Marcia moments that created the feeling she was performing just for you. Spontaneous line dancers popped up as she took charge of her mega-hit song “Electric Boogie” then she artfully pushed our pleasure meters even higher with a multitude of other classic hits including “I Shall Sing,” “Closer To You,” “Automatic” and the Studio One classic “Truly,” one of my personal favorites.  If  the thrill of hearing her incredible unwavering voice and watching her take full command of the stage wasn’t enough, during her celebratory segment Ms. Griffiths was also joined on the stage by Reggae pioneers Bob Andy who she partnered with for more than four years in the early 70's billed as “Bob & Marcia,” the charismatic Ken Boothe and  Tony Gregory who together with Ms. Griffiths recorded her first single duet “You're Mine” in 1964 and later singing harmony for him in the 1965 song “Baby Come On Home,” both of which were recorded under the Studio One label.

Marcia Griffiths celebrates 50 years in the business with friends and a Reunited 809 Band (click on photosper to enlarge)

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Marcia Griffiths
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Mikey Fletcher - 809 Band
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Tony Gregory
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Ken Boothe (for John Holt), Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffith receive Proclamations from the State Representative
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Bob Andy (for John Holt), Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffith receive Proclamations from the State Representative
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Marcia Griffiths
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Dean Fraser 809 Band
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Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths
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809 Band
PictureChronixx
I was curious to see how well Roots-Reggae rising star Chronixx performed; I caught him at SOB's in 2013 and although he was in excellent sound, that performance raised questions in my mind about his  rather unassuming stage performance and what I perceived as an invisible barrier placed between himself and the audience that left me feeling unable to fully connect and somewhat bored.  However it was a “hold the press” moment for the young artist as he thoroughly commanded the Groovin in the Park stage clearly merging all that is expected from a budding super-star. With great success Chronixx blended his exquisite sound and engaging lyrics with riveting movements I had found lacking in his previous performance. It's no surprise that in doing so he thoroughly rocked the stage from start to finish gaining the liveliest response performing his hit songs “Smile Jamaica” and “Here Comes Trouble.”


Chronixx & The Zinc Fence Redemption Band Rocks the Stage 

Chronixx Groovin in the Park
Chronixx and the Zinc Fence Redemption Band
Chronixx Dread and Terrible
Chronixx Dread and Terrible Tour Merchandise
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Chronixx

An enjoyable day for everyone 

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Crowd Favorite Beres Hammond

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There are few words that adequately describe the majestic presence of legendary artist Beres Hammond whose undisputed catalog of mega-hits always guarantees he'll be a particular favorite among fans bordering and even crossing the line of fanatic adoration. Case in point, had there not been tight security one zealous young woman standing behind the media pit was so excited when he hit the stage she was ready to climb the fence and jump into the pit just to get inches closer to Beres; looking around I can testify that she was not alone.   And just when you knew Groovin in the Park was a bonafide success and entry was well worth the cost of the ticket, there was the surprise appearance of super-star Shaggy who hit the stage full-throttle joining Beres. Needless to say an already thunderous crowd went.... absolutely...wild! 

Beres Hammond shares the stage with Marcia Griffith and surprise Guest Shaggy 

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Shaggy & Beres Hammond
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Beres Hammond
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Marcia Griffith & Beres Hammond
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Beres Hammond

From L.U.S.T to Air Supply - memorable moments at Groovin in the Park

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For reasons unofficially unknown, Rocksteady great John Holt who was scheduled to perform in the tribute to Marcia Griffiths was a no-show with unconfirmed rumors of him being under the weather prompting his last minute replacement  in the show by Ken Boothe. Never the mind, the highly synchronized harmony group L.U.S.T. kicked off the featured acts segment backed by incredible bassist Derrick Barnett & his flawless Statement Band, a great combination that succeeded in revving up the audience. L.U.S.T gave their all even performing the first song they ever recorded as a group called “Only The Sweetness of Your Love” and had they stayed stage side for another hour, I'm convinced it would have been fine by everyone present...they were that entertaining.  Australian soft rock stars Air Supply working together now for over 30-years have remained consistently popular with memorable hits making them a great choice to close out Groovin in the Park. Their sing-along classic gems such  “Power of Love”  "All out of Love" and “Lost in Love” was met with thunderous applause from the audience and equally as important, their performance made for an exciting change of pace and conclusion to a beautiful summer afternoon of great entertainment.  


Photos of L.U.S.T and Air Supply 

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Air Supply
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Lukie D and Tony Curtis
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L.U.S.T and the Statement Band
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Air Supply
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Air Supply

A Look at the Production of Groovin in the Park 

Right about now it's time to take a quick look into important nuances often overlooked that contributes to the greatness of the big stage experience. For example, Reggae fans in particular will appreciate the fact that the concert  started on time and there was excellent music in-between sets by DJ Jazzy who took us to new heights with a wide selection of carefully selected tunes. The addition of Marlene Porter of Power 106 FM Jamaica W.I. in the title role of concert co-host was a brilliant selection and excellent complement to the offbeat shenanigans of seasoned radio host Ras Clem of 93.5 FM. Backstage there were a number of noteworthy Reggae celebrities spotted showing their support for the day's activities including Everton Blender, Kelissa, Nadine Sutherland, Red Fox and Khari Kill.  And speaking of artists, let's not forget the upcoming talent who performed early on and exceedingly well including: Congo Brainz (Reggae), Kamsha (R&B), Tasha T (Reggae), Fariji (Reggae/Soul), Ky-enie (Reggae) and Gabrielle Ross (Pop). In an era where the development of noteworthy emerging talent is conspicuously absent on major stages, the foresight of Groovin in the Park producers developing the future of entertainment by creating a platform for new artists who  clearly should be on the public’s radar is commendable. And while awarding pats on the back, producers should also be commended  for giving back to the Caribbean community by committing part of this years proceeds from ticket sales to the well-deserving not-for-profit organization called the Vincent HoSang Family Foundation. The Foundation has been actively raising funds to purchase two much needed Linear Accelerator machines (at a cost of $5 million US each) used in the treatment of cancer that are earmarked for two prominent Jamaican hospitals. If you too are interested in supporting this life saving endeavor, and we hope that you are, please make a tax deductible donation of $10 or more to: Vincent HoSang Family Foundation, 117 Route 303, Suite B, Tappan, NY 10983.

Familiar Faces at Groovin In the Park 

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Khari Kill wears a new design from his Born to Rule Clothing Line
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Co-host Marlene Porter
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Nadine Sutherland
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Co-host Ras Clem
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Courtney Panton & Tasha T
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Samuel Grant & Derrick Barnett take a moment off stage
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Groovin in the Park 2014 was indeed spectacular running from beginning to end without a hitch, full of exciting moments and nuff fun for all in attendance. I can hardly wait to see how they will top this lineup in 2015 but after this  production remain convinced that they can and will meet next years challenge.

View the full slide show of Photos from Groovin in the Park 2014


Grace Vanriel is the Founder and CEO of  Live Reggae NYC and the Strategic Marketing Executive for the Reggaeholics Movement for “REAL” Reggae lovers. She is a Senior Correspondent for ReggaeReflection.com and Contributing Writer to TheReggaeVibe.com and WhereItzAt Magazine.

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  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 FL, Reggae in the Hills and more. 

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

 
 

Sister Carol 'Live No Evil' Album Release Party 1/18 NYC  

 Report by Grace Vanriel, Sr. Correspondent for Reggae Reflection 
 Photos by MyFlash Photography   Feature by Empress K  - Editor at Reggae Reflection 
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We attended Sister Carol's jam packed NY launch party for "Live No Evil".   Greatly inspired, we purchased a copy of the new album. The powerful messages coupled with strong penetrating rhythms in a traditional style make it a must listen to for true Roots & Culture fans. Fans craving "fresh" approaches to the production of traditional Reggae will also be greatly satisfied. 

While highly recognized and respected as a top-notch DeeJay not unlike critics of Bob Marley's actual singing ability, The Black Cinderella is no crooner. However in the same token, all the greatest and most enduring Reggae music rest eternally in powerful lyrics and the emotional delivery behind it. Albums like "Fear No Evil" transcends the individual singer and effortlessly filters through a powerful message that touches, motivates and positively impacts the thinking of listeners.


Photos by MyFlash Photography

Reggae Reflection Sr Correspondent Grace Vanriel is a long-time Reggae music fan and the organizer for leading Reggae social networks in the NYC area on Meetup.com including: Live Reggae NYC, NYC Roots Reggae, Dancehall and Reggae Alliance and Reggae Rocks. She is also one of the Executive Producers of the successful Reggaeholics Movement themed concerts, shows and parties. Follow her on Live Reggae NYC on facebook at:  www.facebook.com/livereggaenyc   or on the Reggaeholics page at: www.facebook.com/reggaeholics

 
 

Reggae Reflection Favorite Festivals in 2013

Here are five  top festivals that Reggae Reflection covered in 2013 and recommends for you to put on your list for 2014.  Each one offers a slightly different blend of musical genres in various locations.  We are looking forward to see the forthcoming line-up announcements for 2014.  Check the official websites below for more information on each festival.  For more photos of covered events check out our Photo Gallery

9 Mile Music Festival - Miami, FL

Julian Marley, Stephen Marley, Damian Marley at 9 Mile Festival Miami Julian Marley, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley
The annual 9 Mile Music Festival is a day long festival taking  place in Miami in the February / March timeframe.  Always a great get away to escape from the cold Northeast and see members of the Marley Family perform as well as favorite Reggae singers.  Last year the festival celebrated their 20th milestone with a star-studded line-up including Daniel Bambaata Marley, Luciano, Capleton, Konshens, Mavado, Machel Montano, Future, 2Chainz, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley and Damian Marley.  

Reggae Reflection Coverage:  Keeping-the-mission-alive-for-the-20th-year-at-the-annual-9mile-festival-with-a-blend-of-reggae-dancehall-soca-and-rap.html

Official Website:  www.9milemusicfestival.com   The 21st Annual Festival will occur on February 15, 2014 and will include performances by  Chronixx, Mavado, Lauryn Hill,  Sean Paul. Tessanne, Julian Marley, Stephen Marley , Damian Marley and more. 

HangOut Music Festival  - Gulf Shores, Alabama

Toots and the Maytals at the Hangout Music FestivalToots at HangOut Festival
For the first time, Reggae Reflection covered the Hangout Festival. This is a not to miss 3 day festival taking place on the beautiful Gulf Shores of Alabama.  The festival which started in 2010 boasts 5 stages featuring a great blend of Rock, Reggae, EDM, R&B, Hip Hop, Folk, Country and everything in between.  

Official Website:  www.hangoutmusicfest.com   This year the festival takes place on May 15 - May 17th.  The 2014 festival line up will be announced on 1/15. 

Reggae Reflection Coverage & Photos by Day:   Coverage includes Toots and the Maytals, Big Galactic,  Public Enemy, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Slightly Stoopid, The Roots, Tom Petty and more. 

Day 1  The-hangout-festival-experience-day-1-2013-reggae-reflection-photos.html

Day 2  The-hangout-festival-experience-day-2-2013-reggae-reflection-photos.html

Day 3  The-hangout-experience-day-3-2013-reggae-reflection-photos.html


Groovin in the Park, NYC

Queen Ifrica at Groovin in the ParkQueen Ifrica at Groovin in the Park
The annual Groovin in the Park Concert takes place every summer at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY.  Featured acts include the best of Reggae Rhythm and Blues.  Over the years that we have covered the event it has  included Mavado, Babyface, Machel Montano, Jimmy Cliff, Boyz II Men, Beenie Man, Beres Hammond, Gladys Knight and last year featured Queen Ifrica, Half Pint, Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy, Patti Labelle, and TGT. 

Official Website:  www.groovininthepark.com   This year the 4th annual day long festival will take place on Sunday, June 29, 2014.  

Reggae Reflection Coverage of Groovin in the Park 2013:  Groovininthepark-2013-delivers-another-winning-combination-of-reggae-and-rhythmblues.html

Six Flags Caribbean Music Festival - Jackson, NJ

Beenie Man at Six Flags Caribbean ConcertBeenie Man at Six Flags
The annual Caribbean Summer Concert Series takes place at the Six Flags Amusement park in Jackson, NJ.  A ticket to the concert includes all access to the popular theme park. In 2013, we attended the 8th edition of the event.   Since we've been covering this festival it has included acts such as Beres Hammond, Wayne Wonder, Anthony B, Mavado, I-Octane, Barrington Levy and last year featured Laza Morgan, D'Angel, Mr. Vegas, Bunji Garlin, and Beenie Man.  

Official Website:  www.caribbeanconcerts.com   This year the 9th annual event takes place on Sunday August 10, 2014

Reggae Reflection Coverage of Six Flags Caribbean Summer Concert: Photos-at-8th-annual-six-flags-caribbean-summer-concert-series.html



Montreal International Reggae Festival - Montreal, Canada

Cocoa Tea at Montreal Reggae Festival
The Montreal Reggae Festival takes place in August in the beautiful location of the Old Port of Montreal.  This is a three day festival which just celebrated its 10th anniversary milestone last year.  

We've officially covered this event since 2011 and have seen this festival continue to grow into the quality event that it is today.  Over the years that we've been covering it the line-up has included Beres Hammond, Wayne Wonder, Third World, Jah Vinci, Gyptian, Konshens, Christopher Martin, Jimmy Cliff, Tarrus Riley, Assasin, Popcaan, and Cham.  In 2013 MIRF had an extra special 10 year celebration featuring Morgan Heritage, Sustane, Tifa, Mr. Vegas, Kes The Band, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Yellowman, Serani, Alaine, Cocoa Tea and Freddie McGregor. 

Official Website:  www.montrealinternationalreggaefestival.com   The 2014 festival is expected to take place August 15 - 17th 2014.  Check the site for official dates to be announced. 

Reggae Reflection Coverage of the Montreal Reggae Festival: Photos-montreal-reggae-festival-celebrates-its-tenth-anniversary-in-style.html

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  The Reggae Reflection team 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 FL , www.oneheartfestival.com and more. 

  • * Awarded Best Digital Media (nominated along with 9 other Media Outlets)  Linkage Awards in NY 3/11/12
  • * Nominated by The Association of Independent Reggae Music (AIRM)  for the “Most Reggae Outlet" in NYC
Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook

 
 

Photos: Montreal Reggae Festival Celebrates its 10th Anniversary in style

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A trip to Montreal for the annual Reggae Festival is always a special time, however this year the Montreal International Reggae Festival took it up a notch further to commemorate their 10 year anniversary with the best of Reggae and Dancehall acts from the Caribbean.  The three day festival took place August 16th - August 18th with record breaking attendance throughout the festival.   Leading up to the Friday night kickoff, the Montreal International Reggae Festival held a series of free workshops from noted speakers Helene Lee,  Reggae Historian Roger Steffens, and Jabar Richeus on a variety of topics related to the origins of the Rasta Movement, Reggae History, and Empowering People. 

Reggae artist  Hawkeye was one of the Jamaican artists on the opening night lineup then Morgan Heritage headlined Friday night's opening celebration. Morgan Heritage back together as a group since pursuing solo careers have been on tour promoting their long awaited new album "Here Come The Kings".  Despite Una Morgan not being able to perform due to illness, the rest of Morgan Heritage delighted the Montreal fans who had not seen them on the festival since they last played in 2008.  Also appearing on Friday night's set was the next generation of Morgan Heritage. Gramps Morgan's son Jemere on tour with the group opened up for Morgan Heritage and performed songs from his upcoming debut EP. 


Photo Highlights: Opening Night at the Montreal Reggae Festival with Hawkeye, Jemere Morgan, and Morgan Heritage

Day 2 at the Montreal Reggae Festival

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Saturday brought sunny skies and a capacity sold out crowd to witness Dancehall night at the Montreal Reggae Festival.  Dancehall artists Sustane and Tifa warmed up the early crowd in attendance.  Mr. Vegas then charged up the crowd further with his set of dancehall hits.  Easily one of the highest energy acts of the day was Kes The Band, a soca / reggae fusion band from Trinidad and Tobago making their first appearance in Montreal.  At this point, I wondered how the remaining acts might top this crowd favorite, however no worries as the legendary Shaggy "Mr. BoomBastic",  backed by his own band easily entertained the crowd  with his hits as only Shaggy can do along with Rayvon as a special guest on their song collaborations such as the popular "It Wasn't Me" and "Angel".   To close out the night, The King of the Dancehall, Beenie Man backed by the Ruff Kutt band  brought the house down as he worked through his crowd favorite dancehall anthems.

Montreal Reggae Festival Fans pack the venue

Crowd at Montreal Reggae Festival

Photo Highlights of Day 2 at the Montreal Reggae Festival featuring Sustane, Tifa, Mr. Vegas, Kes the Band, Shaggy and Beenie Man

Day 3 Montreal Reggae Festival

Bob Marley Flag at Montreal Reggae Festival
A near capcity crowd was in attendance for the final day of the festival. Late the prior day, it was announced that Luciano would not be appearing as planned due to unexpected Visa issues. Despite the change in line up, fans were in for a spectacular day of Reggae. Canadian Artists Visionary and Jah Cutta had well received opening performances. Next up was Yellowman & The Saggitarius Band for his always entertaining high energy set.  Serani provided a fun and entertaining set then it was time for the Ruff Kutt Band to take center stage once again to back the final acts of the evening. Alaine accompanied by a trio of supporting vocalists had an impressive set and showcased her classical piano background playing lead keyboard on her signature song, "Ordinary Love".  Crowd favorite Cocoa Tea delivered a strong set of his sing along classics then Di Captain,  Freddie McGregor had the honor to close out another successful year of the Montreal Reggae festival performing classics from his extensive catalog and new song selections from his new album "Di Captain".  A classic finale to 3 days of quality entertainment at the Montreal International Reggae Festival leaving everyone in attendance fully satisfied and looking forward to the 21st annual celebration in 2014.  

Faces at the Montreal Reggae Festival

Photo Highlights: Day 3 at the Montreal Reggae Festival featuring Visionary, Jah Cutta, Yellowman, Serani, Alaine, Cocoa Tea, and Freddie McGregor

Congrats to the ongoing efforts of the  Montreal Reggae Festival Team and hosts who made it all possible

See the full Montreal Reggae Festival Slideshow of Photos below on our Flick Gallery below


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  The Reggae Reflection team 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 FL , www.oneheartfestival.com and more. 

  • * Awarded Best Digital Media (nominated along with 9 other Media Outlets)  Linkage Awards in NY 3/11/12
  • * Nominated by The Association of Independent Reggae Music (AIRM)  for the “Most Reggae Outlet" in NYC
Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook

 
 

Photos at 8th Annual Six Flags Caribbean Summer Concert Series

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On Sunday, August 11, 2013  TriniFly Promotions hosted their 8th annual Caribbean Concert Summer Series at Six Flags Park, a  favorite theme park in Jackson, NJ.   This year marked our third consecutive year covering this popular event and as with past years they featured another impressive  line up of Reggae & Dancehall artists along with Soca & Hip Hop mixed in to entertain the mostly Caribbean crowd in attendance.  This year the exceptional all-star line-up included Beenie Man, Mr. VegasBunji Garlin. Lee MazinD'Angel and Young Devyn. Christopher Martin had been advertised however it was learned after the show that he had a visa issue that prevented him from performing.   All tickets for the evening concert included all day activities at the Six Flags Theme Park making this a great value and enjoyable event for all ages. 

Six Flags Caribbean Summer Concert Series Fans

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Young Devyn and her dancers open up the event

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Early performers -  Hip Hop Artist Lee Mazin, Dancehall Diva D'Angel and Dancehall artist Laza Morgan warm up the crowd

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Lee Mazin and Dancers backstage

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D'Angel poses for a moment backstage

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Crowd Favorite Mr Vegas rules the stage

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King of the Dancehall, BeenieMan up next and invites D'Angel for a duo

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Bunji Garlin ready for the road with Fayann Lyons and daughter Syri to close out another successful  year at Six Flags Amusement Park

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Watch the full slide show  of photos from the Six Flags Caribbean Concert below


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  The Reggae Reflection team 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 FL , www.oneheartfestival.com and more. 

  • * Awarded Best Digital Media (nominated along with 9 other Media Outlets)  Linkage Awards in NY 3/11/12
  • * Nominated by The Association of Independent Reggae Music (AIRM)  for the “Most Reggae Outlet" in NYC
Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook
 
 

Groovin in the Park 2013 Delivers another winning combination of Reggae and Rhythm and Blues

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MC's Richie B and Ras Clem
Groovin In the Park Story  by ©Sheron Hamilton-Pearson
Photography & Feature by Empress K  - Founder & Editor at www.ReggaeReflection.com

The road to Queens on Sunday June 30, 2013 was a well-travelled one, or so it seemed as this writer circled the perimeter of Roy Wilkins Park, ready to enjoy what had for weeks been promoted as the biggest and best park show to hit New York City.  

Tradition dictates that ‘upcoming’ artists are the warm-up act and so on this occasion Culture Wise, Princess Menen and Mr. Glamarus had the unenviable task of kicking things off.  The show was ably MC’d by Clement Hume aka Ras Clem and Jamaican radio d-j Richie B who introduced the first of the headline acts; Half Pint, a last minute replacement for the previously advertised Cocoa Tea whose lack of work visa meant a very late cancellation.  Half Pint's easily recognizable vocals to ”Greetings” wafting in the air was definitely an indication that the show had started.  Dressed to impress in a red brocade jacket and white dress shirt, although a tad hoarse, he warmed up the early crowds who were steadily streaming into the park.


Half Pint brings his Greetings to #GroovinInThePark

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Barrington Levy
Next up on stage came the man Barrington Levy, still performing, still relevant and looking slimmer and trimmer than he has done for some time.  It was a delight to listen to songs of yesteryear that still resonate and evoke such sweet memories, “Under Mi Sensi”, “Black Roses”, “Too Experienced” and the ever popular crowd pleaser “Murderer”.  Barrington's re-working of “Here I Come” definitely got the younger fans bobbing heads and swaying to the pulsating rhythms.  Disappointingly, his set seemed to be cut very short, with a truncated performance lasting no more than 30 minutes, which left fans wanting for more.

Barrington Levy photos  (click on each photo to enlarge)

Queen Ifrica, The Fyah Mumma 

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Queen Ifrica
The only woman to represent reggae at this event, The Fyah Mumah otherwise known as Queen Ifrica was next to perform and she certainly did not disappoint.  Standing barefooted as the rain which had been threatening all day, finally fell heavily at first and then eased to a steady patter.  Nothing could dampen her time in the spotlight, her seamless interaction with the crowd was certainly one of the highlights of the show.  At her urging, the patrons willingly indicated their approval of her set by raising their umbrellas in unison to her lyrics. Looking out into the crowd during Ifrica's set, the visual of a virtual sea of undulating umbrellas was indeed a sight.  More indicative of a dancehall set, the Queen unleashed a rapid succession of hit after hit.  Always delivering biting social commentary, she left no stone unturned ending her set with the poignant “Daddy don't Touch me There.  Queen Ifrica was the only artist to receive a resounding encore, earning a justified seal of approval.

Photo SlideShow of Queen Ifrica at #GroovinInThePark

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Not to be outdone, Mr. Kevin Jackson pulled no punches for his time on stage.  He delivered not only a secular set of his usual standards, but also provided music for the soul in his gospel renditions.  Classic among them of course “Amazing Grace”.  Red seemed to be the color of the day as Sanchez appeared casually dressed in red shirt and blue jeans.  His voice could be clearly heard at the far reaches of the park where food vendors were busy selling their wares and where I found some very tasty treats to quench my thirst and quell hunger pangs.

As the afternoon wore on and the sky cleared, the anticipation was building as next up on stage  came British group, the internationally acclaimed Steel Pulse (added to the roster in place of Toots injured from a bottle thrown by an overzealous fan!) headed by front man David Hinds resplendent in his multi-colored raiment which had the crowd abuzz.  Steel Pulse has always enjoyed massive international success and support, but somehow that did not seem to translate in this Queens park setting.  After spatterings of applause, they seemed to lose the crowd, and despite the lackluster response their set continued for over an hour.


Sanchez Photos (click on each photo to enlarge)

Steel Pulse Photos (click on each photo to enlarge)

Scenes at #GroovinInthePark

Patti Labelle up next for the Rhythm and Blues segment

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Patti Labelle
Dusk was drawing in, the rain had now totally ceased as an expectant hush descended.  It was clear everyone was awaiting the long-anticipated Ms. Patti Labelle!  Introduced by Shayla of 107.5 WBLS, Ms. Patti as she is affectionately known, sashayed on stage in an exquisite light blue ensemble.  For a woman who recently celebrated her 69th birthday, The Diva looks the picture of health.  Of course she has drastically cut back on her on stage antics, but she still has the change of shoes, strategically placed on top of the grand piano.

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Patti Labelle
Whipping out her mirror she quipped that she just wanted to ensure “that everything was in place and nothing had fallen”.  Her performance was in a word “magical”.  The crowd was spellbound, you could hear a pin drop as she mesmerized all within earshot, dropping classic after classic.  My personal favorite -  “If Only You Knew”, delivered with exactly the same pathos as when the song was first recorded.  After Patti, I'm sorry to say everything else was anti-climactic.  TGT, Tank, Ginuwine and Tyrese performed for the ladies, but I was fully satisfied after seeing the Diva up close and personal.


Patti Labelle photos (click on each photo to enlarge)

Tank, Ginuwine and Tyrese (#TGT) performing for the Ladies as they closed out #GroovinInThePark 2013 (click on each photo to enlarge)

The event, brainchild of Christopher Roberts, The Door CEO and his team again melded reggae with rhythm and blues in a winning combination.  www.groovininthepark.com
Sheron Hamilton-Pearson was born in London. With a passion for writing, she has had articles published at www.jamlink.com, Where Itz At newspaper and www.imagesnewsletter.com and has provided news stories to www.streethypenewsletter.com.

She currently hosts a weekly magazine-style internet radio program, The Conduit Show every Sunday at www.ustream.tv/channel/reggae-nation.com between the hours of 6 and 9 pm.

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Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  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 FL and more. 

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View the full gallery of #GroovinInThePark slide show photos below 

 
 
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Continuing the theme of something for everyone, Day 3 had yet another impressive line up of acts for the final day of the festival.   Although there was more cloud coverage, not a drop of rain was in the forecast.  

Galactic on the Chevrolet Stage was the first set of the afternoon for me.  Galactic is a funk and jazz jam band from New Orleans.  Galactic started out their mid-afternoon set with an instrumental selection, before introducing Corey Glover from Living Color as their lead vocalist for the remainder of their set. 

For photos & coverage of Day 1 and Day 2, Click the links below
Day 1 featuring Toots and the Maytals, Ryan Bingham, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Day 2 featuring Public Enemy, The Roots, Kendrick Lamar, Slightly Stoopid and Tom Petty

A friend who is a big fan of Imagine Dragons told me no matter what I had to see Imagine Dragons.  Not at all familiar with them, I'm glad I listened because I was really impressed with their set. Full of energy, this 5 member indie rock band from Las Vegas led by charismatic frontman Dan Reynolds really had the crowd energized during their late afternoon set on the Cheverolet Stage.  Earlier in the afternoon I caught a glimpse of them at Media World as they hosted a meet and greet, eagerly posing for pictures and signing autographs from many supporters of all ages. 

Imagine Dragons Meet & Greet

View the slide show for more photos of Imagine Dragons

#HangoutFest Scenes 

The festival accounted for everything… Amusement rides including a Large Ferris Wheel to take in the spectacular view of the festival to the Mega Drop for the more daring thrill seekers. 

Faces of #HangoutFest

 View the Slide Show for photos from Space Capone on the the BMI Stage  Space Capone made SPIN's Top 15 "Must-See Acts of Hangout Music Fest 2013" 

Bloc Party, an British indie Rock Band greeted their many fans for their first ever performance in  Alabama.   View Photos from their set on the Letting Go Stage on the Slide show below. 

Stevie Wonder Grand Finale 

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For the grand finale of a near perfect three day festival, the masses returned to the main stage area  to see Stevie Wonder's 2 1/2 hour long set.  Since Stevie Wonder is not frequently on tour it was a rare treat for many of the festival attendees. Stevie Wonder's set included a great array of his classic sing along standards as well as many covers including Bob Marley's  Reggae Classic, Is this Love.  

 
 

The Hangout Festival Experience Day 2 2013 | Reggae Reflection photos

A mix of Hip Hop, Reggae, and Rock rule day 2

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As with all days of the festival, the weather was perfect  - in the low to mid 80s with with a great mixture of sun and clouds to catch a break from the heat.  For me, day 2 started out with the old school hip-hop crew of Public Enemy featuring Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and DJ Lord. 

Day 1 Recap and Photos of Toots and The Maytals, Ryan Bingham, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Link Here
Day 3 Recap and Photos of Galactic, Imagine Dragons, Space Capone, Bloc Party, and Stevie Wonder
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When Flavor Flav took to the stage without his trademark clock pendant around his neck, it wasn't long before he addressed those in the audience wondering why it was missing. He explained that he was going to wear the clock until Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Well this year they were indeed inducted into the 2013 Hall of Fame, but don't believe the hype, Flavor Flav showed everyone he still had it tucked away.  In no time at all Public Enemy proved to the overflowing crowd in the Boom Boom Tent that they were still Kings of the Mic.

Look out for Public Enemy embarking  on the Kings of the Mic tour this summer with LL Cool J, Ice Cube and De La Soul.    

View the slide show for more photos of Public Enemy

Next up The Roots rock the Chevrolet Stage

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By now, The Roots are well known by many for their ongoing stint as the house band of the late night Jimmy Fallon show.  The Roots hailing from Philadelphia brought their dynamic fusion of hip hop, funk and rock showmanship to the beach with a lively fun set that included many of their well known songs as well as covering Sweet Child of Mine. Each band member did his thing to thoroughly engage the audience, and the fans soaked up the positive energy making this one of the most enjoyable sets of the afternoon. 


View the Slideshow for more photos of The Roots

Kendrick Lamar Jets to the Hangout Festival

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As fans and media patiently waited in the HOT Boom Boom Tent, MTV Host Dj Sway held a crowd hip-hop contest to entertain the fans, some of which were received much better than others.  Lamar may have kept his fans waiting as he apparently had to take a private jet to get to the Gulf Shores, but it was certainly worth their wait.  

Slightly Stoopid reigns the Letting Go Stage

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The members of Slightly Stoopid were on hand for a meet and greet in Media World as well as a meet and greet at the Relix Magazine Booth to greet fans who waited patiently for a photograph and autograph opportunity prior to Slightly Stoopid's evening set at the Letting Go Stage.  Slightly Stoopid is an 8 piece California based band best known for their fusion of Reggae and Rock.  With 7 studio albums under their belt,  Slightly Stoopid delivered a solid set with crowd favorite selections including songs from their 2012 release Top of the World

Look out for Slightly Stoopid on their Kickin up Dust Summer Tour.

Slightly Stoopid Meet & Greet with the fans

View the Slide Show for more photos of Slightly Stoopid

Scenes from #HangoutFest 

A classic finale to Day 2 of the Hangout Festival with Tom Petty

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Pretty much everyone I encountered was quite thrilled to catch the legendary performance of Tom Petty whether they they were seeing him for the first time or from years ago.  For me it had actually been over 30 years and I was looking forward to hear some of my favorite classics.  At lunch, I encountered a fan sporting a classic 1980 Tom Petty concert T-shirt only to realize that he had bought that T-shirt well after the fact since he was born in 1982!    As expected Tom Petty played hit after well known hit during his lengthy 2 hour + set.    See the set list Tom Petty posted on his Instagram page @TomPetty. 



 
 

The Hangout Festival Experience Day 1 2013 #ReggaeReflection

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Chevrolet Stage
May 17, 2013 - Last year was the first year that the Hangout Festival made my radar.  Event schedule conflicts prevented me from  attending it in 2012 so I made it a priority to plan for 2013 and I was not disappointed.   As a first time traveler to Alabama,  this was an experience I was looking forward to.   From the first day it was obvious that the Hangout Festival has become a annual retreat for followers from all over. I encountered many individuals that travel each year  from Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and other nearby locations to attend this festival.  Three day general admission passes sold out prior to the start of the festival that attracts approximately 35,000 fans each day. 

One thing for certain is the Hangout Festival lives up to its name and has done so in a relatively short period of time.  At the center of the festival is a local landmark restaurant aptly named The Hangout and from which the festival is based.  The Hangout's slogan "Where 59 ends and the fun begins" refers to its location at the end of Route 59 and is an accurate description of all the activities taking place.  There were numerous places to hangout within the festival grounds.  One could chill and listen to your favorite type of music ranging from EDM , Rock, Alt Rock, Reggae, Hip Hop, Country and everything in between.  One section of the beach was transformed into an Island Oasis complete with a stretch of grass running down to the Rum Bar along with hammocks nestled under palm trees next door. Plenty of cooling misters were located all over the festival grounds. 

The festival which started in 2010 has evolved into a 3 day festival with 5 stages often running concurrently each day.   Each stage varied  in size from a large covered tent which entertained the youngest crowd with high energy Hip Hop and EDM sets from popular artists such as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Public Enemy, and Kendrick Lemar; to the  largest stage (one of two stages located directly on the white sandy beach)  reserved for the festival headliner acts Kings of Leon, Tom Petty,  and Stevie Wonder closing out the festival on Sunday night. 

While most of the stages had  very nice VIP viewing areas, it was the main stage that really stood out with their Super VIP 2 story cabana type structures making it a very pleasant experience to view the headliner performances.  MTV and VH1 provided unprecedented coverage including a livestream of a majority of the acts making everyone at home wish they were in Gulf Shores having as much fun.  Check out many of the clips on hangout.mtv.com

The only drawback I could even barely mention is that with over 60 bands scheduled there is just too much to choose from so I did my best to attend the Reggae, Hip Hop, and R&B sets along with several rock bands I wanted to check out. Last but not least on my list, a performance from my  long time favorite rock legend Tom Petty whom I have not seen since my early rock concert going days. 

Check out coverage for Day 2 & 3 below

Day 1 Photos & highlights with Toots & The Maytals, Ryan Bingham and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Toots delivers a beach party on the Chevrolet Stage

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In the early afternoon, rocking the Chevrolet Stage, the 2nd Largest stage located at the end of the white sandy beach was veteran Reggae artist Toots and the Maytals.  Band member and lead guitarist Carl Harvey introduced Toots to the stage as the band commenced with the classic song Pressure Drop. This set the stage for an 1 hour + Reggae Beach Party including all their classic songs as well as covers of Louie Louie and Take Me Home Country Roads. 


View the Slide show for more photos of Toots and the Maytals

Ryan Bingham performs on the Letting Go Stage

Prior to his late afternoon set,  Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning Americana artist Ryan Bingham made his way to Media World for a relaxed meet & greet.   Performing on the Letting Go Stage, Ryan played an enjoyable set including several songs from his 4th album Tomorrowland. 

View the Slide Show for more photos of Ryan Bingham

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Energize the Boom Boom Tent

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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis an indie rap duo from Seattle was one of the top headliners in the Boom Boom Tent. They appeared just two days before the annual Billboard Awards took place where they won a well deserved Best Rap Song award for their Billboard Chart topping song Thriftshop from their 2012 debut album The Heist.  Making Billboard Chart History, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are  the first duo to take its first two singles to No. 1 in the Hot 100's almost-55-year history (source: Billboard). Also featured on the set was newcomer Wanz who sings the hook on Thriftshop and vocalist Ray Dalton featured on the current Billboard number 1 song Can't hold us Down,  just two of the songs performed on this highly entertaining and high energy set in which they entertained their fans with dancers, outfit changes and even crowd surfing with an inflatable whale.  Yes, I said an inflatable whale.  His loyal fans known as the  #SharkFaceGang were still thrilled. 


View the Slide Show for more photos of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 

#HangoutFest Scenes from Day 1

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The Faces Of HangoutFestival Day 1
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I discovered that some people have come up with clever ways to find friends. Did I mention that one does not go solo to the Hangout Festival?  I saw several flag poles in the crowd adorned with unique tops used as group identifiers and making it a bit easier to find your friends in the crowd. 

My favorite was the inflatable cactus decorated with the patriotic flag and buttons. 




Hangout Festival Logistics

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How to get there:  The Gulf Shores location is easily reached from the nearest airports of Pensacola, FL (45 minutes)  and Mobile, Alabama (1 hour)  Beyond that it is also an easy drive from New Orleans and various key locations in the Southern States. I chose to fly to Atlanta and visit some friends before commencing the 6 hour+ drive to Alabama.   Despite missing my exit on route 65 and ending up traveling through Mobile on the way to Gulf Shores, it was still an easy and enjoyable drive.  The timing worked out and I managed to witness a magnificent sunset upon my arrival. 


Where to stay:  Plan early and book a beach side accommodation on the Gulf Shores. The Hangout Festival website had a variety of lodging sites listed.  Also nearby is the town of Foley. While it is not beach side, it had a  variety of more  reasonably priced accommodation choices and  was a good proximity to drive just a few miles to one of the multiple Hangout Festival Shuttle locations making it an easy and efficient way to get to the Hangout Festival.  Three Day Shuttle Passes were available for $50 and could be purchased online.  An EventBrite android app provided me with an electronic ticket in exchange for a Shuttle bracelet. 


What to Bring / Wear:  It's HOT on the beach.  Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat, your swimsuit, towel, smart phone (use the Hangout Fest app to see the schedule and festival map!), cash and credit card/Atm Card.  Atms were readily available.   Try not to carry too much as you will be walking a lot from stage to stage.  No wheels as some of the stages are directly on the sandy beach.   Attire of the Hangout Festival Patrons ranged from bikini clad to some pretty outrageous costumes.

All in all , the Hangout Festival was one the most organized and best executed festivals I have attended recently with  a steady throng of patrons coming and going throughout the 12 hours of festivities each day.  One of the great aspects about the beach boulevard location of the  festival is that patrons can come and go as they please after passing thru security each time. This allowed patrons to frequent many of the local business located on the outside of the Hangout Festival.  I took advantage of this to take a break each day and sample some great fresh Gulf seafood from some of the well known restaurants in the area. 

I'm already looking forward to next year's Hangout Festival Experience and just may have to make those reservations very soon! 


 
 

The mission continues at the 20th annual 9Mile Festival with an eclectic mix of Reggae, Dancehall, Soca and Rap

Photos and Feature by Empress K for Reggae Reflection

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Heading to Miami to cover the annual 9 Mile Festival is supposed to be a well deserved break from the New England Winter season. Much to my surprise and initial disappointment, a cold spell ensued and southern FL ended up being just a little warmer than home!  Fortunately the eclectic mix of Reggae, Soca, Dancehall and Rap headliners made up for the unusually cold weather. 

The Annual 9 Mile Festival now in its 20th year was held at the historic Virginia Key Beach in Miami  where the previous year's festival was also held.   Gates were advertised to open at 2:00pm  and by the time I got there around 3:00pm,  concert goers were well on their way into the venue . Daniel Bambaata Marley was already on stage with his own band and receiving a warm welcome from the early crowd on hand. Daniel has definitely inherited being at ease on stage from his father Ziggy Marley.   At the end of his well received set he took some time to introduce a next generation of upcoming and conscious reggae artists Dax Lion, Biggz General, and Chronixx.   


Daniel Bambaata Marley reminds the audience there's No Place Like Home

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Lance-O of Kulcha Shok Muzik and a familiar MC at the 9 Mile festival introduced the Ruff Kutt Band to the stage who would be backing the next set of artists starting with Luciano.  Luciano opened up his set with Give Praise to Rastafari.  Supported by two female vocalists, Luciano performed a solid set of his well known songs including For the Leaders, Silver and Gold, Call on Jah, and Gideon War.  He pleased the audience with 2 encores including an acoustic version of Bob Marley's Redemption Song


Continuing with the strong line up of headliners early in the festival, Capleton burst on stage next  as only the Fiyah Man can do with Your day will Come. Capleton's set included more high energy Capleton classics such as Jah Jah City, Momma and PoppaBaby Don't Cry No More, and Acres and Acres

Photos of Luciano and Capleton

Dancehall up Next with Konshens

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Konshens was one of the first dancehall artists of the evening.  Letting the audience know early on that he was battling the flu,  Konshens braved the stage and won over his fans as he announced he wasn't going to let it keep him down and continued to perform many of his well known hits including Gyal a Bubble, Good Girl Gone Bad, and Do Sumn and The Realest Song.   

Despite the cold temperatures, as  the night wore on the crowd  at the festival steadily grew with unofficial reports of attendance between 10,000 and 15,000. Many members of the audience were dressed warmly in wool winter coats or were wrapped in blankets. With nearly 12 hours of music, many of the late comers most likely missed the early headliner acts that they wanted to see such as Capleton and Luciano and Konshens.  Feedback from many  fans I encountered is that a published schedule is needed so they can better plan attendance times at such a long festival. 


Machel Montano proves Vibes Cyah Done

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As the evening started, Soca King Machel Montano  HD of Trinidad and Tobago was up next.  Machel is celebrating over 30 years in the music business and this was his first time at the 9Mile Festival.  He certainly turned the celebration up a notch by creating a party like atmosphere as he along with his dancers, singers and special guest Patrice Roberts had everyone wining to the infectious beat of Soca.  Adding to the celebratory vibe, he opened up a bottle of his own rum brand 3Zero and shared with some of the fans up front during his song 'Drinking Rum'. 

Future, one of two rappers on the festival from Atlanta took the stage next along with two members of his crew all backed by a DJ. Future's set included hit songs from his 2012 debut album Pluto as well as the popular song Loveee Song that he recorded with Rihanna and shares writing credit.  

Fans and Vendors at 9Mile Music Festival

Dancehall Gully Side

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The festival switched back to dancehall mode Gully Side with Mavado who is now primarily based in Miami.  Mavado, a member of DJ Khaled's Label We the Best Music Group was appearing for the first time at the 9Mile Festival.  The Ruff Kutt band returned to back Mavado's set as he performed a variety of his old and newer songs such as Real Mckoy, Star Bwoy, Every Gyal and Box of Money.  Karian Sang joined Mavado on stage to perform their new collaboration on Take It.  The video for Take it just aired on Billboard TV making Mavado the  first Caribbean artist to premiere a video on Billboard. 


The mission continues with Stephen Marley, Julian Marley and Damian Jr. Gong Marley

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As it was nearing 11:00pm, it was finally time for the Marley brothers to take the stage.  Stephen Marley and Jr. Gong kicked off the set with their song The Mission then each of the  Marley brothers took turns to perform their own songs as well as their joint collaborations. Julian took the lead on his song Boom Draw before the brothers performed Jah Army and paid tribute to Buju Banton.  Julian also performed his songs Heart Breaker and Violence in the Streets.  Of course the set also featured a number of Bob Marley classics which included Get up Stand Up, Natural Mystic, War, Pimpa's Paradise and Exodus.    Stephen initiated  the popular song Traffic Jam with Jr. Gong and around that time called Illestr8 and Jo Mersa to the stage.  Jo Mersa  continuing with his track 'Bad So'.  Surprise guest and fan favorite Spragga Benz was also on hand to add his touch to the set. 


Here Comes Jr. Gong, Flying High Like Superman

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Jr Gong energized the crowd by performing Make it Bun Dem  followed by Set up Shop and Affairs of the Heart, two of his latest hit songs which are featured on the his new Ghetto Youths International Compilation Set up Shop, Volume 1.   Damian's  well loved anthem Welcome to Jamrock completed his segment as the next to last song of the performance.

The classic Could you Be Loved was saved for the last song of the set.   Normally the Marleys would have closed out the festival, however unofficial reports were that due to a flight delay, 2Chainz would be going on last.  This did not stop a large exodus of Reggae fans from leaving the venue as soon as it was clear that the Marley set was over. 


@AKVYBZ Video Highlights of  Julian Marley and Damian Marley at 9Mile Reggae Festival

Julian Marley Heartbreaker

Jr Gong Affairs of the Heart

It's not over Yet -  2Chainz closes out the evening

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Closing out nearly 12 hours of non-stop music, Def Jam Recording artist 2Chainz was the last act of the night.   To hype up the remaining crowd, a very effective video montage played with footage from his solo concert tour.   2Chainz the 2nd rapper of the evening also hailing from Atlanta  kicked it off with Mercy, last year's collaboration with Kanye West, Big Sean and Pusha T which earned him a recent Grammy nomination for Best Rap Song.  2Chainz then performed a string of his hit singles  including I'm Diffierent and other popular songs from his recent debut solo album Based on T.R.U. Story - his logo and album title prominently displayed on the large video screen throughout his performance.  His set ended just around the advertised ending time of 1:30am. 

Throughout the evening host Lance-O reminded everyone of the diverse array of performers that have made appearances at the annual festival ranging from Lauryn Hill to Mr. Cheeks to Gentleman to Slightly Stoopid as well as many others over the years.  The 20th year of the festival continued that mission featuring many familiar faces as well as introducing the best in multiple genres, bringing together the diverse fan base in Miami .  The annual festival also has a charity component. As part of the ticket price, it is a requirement to bring 4 canned goods which are donated to Curley’s House, an organization that works to help improve the quality of life for low-to-moderate income families.  


I'm already looking forward to the 21st Annual 9Mile Celebration and of course much warmer weather! 

20th Annual 9Mile Photo Gallery

Special thanks to  the staff at the 9Mile Festival, and to Krystle and Kaceion at , Midori Star Media Group for their assistance and for the opportunity to cover the event.  

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