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The First annual DMV Summer Fest taking place on Sunday, July 17, 2016 at Lake Clifton Park in Baltimore, MD was a resounding success. Advertised as a family fun day, this festival was packed with activities for patrons of all ages. Upon entering the park the first thing I noticed was the large moon bounce for the children attending the festival. Next to the moon bounce was face painting and henna tattoos available. The Caribbean influenced festival was full of vendors of various Caribbean islands offering sugar cane, fresh coconut water, pina coladas, and various Caribbean specialities. Reggae shirts, hats, music, as well as African inspired clothing were available for purchase as well.
Several local DJs and promoters engaged the crowd keeping the energy high between performances. Before the headlining acts dancers hit the stage and taught the crowd some new moves. Kids were also called on stage to participate in a dance contest. They showed off their skills as the danced to Silento’s Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae). A Reebok representative was at the festival giving out merchandise and even hopped on stage between acts to give out t-shirts and two pairs of sneakers to some lucky patrons.
Several new and promising local artists opened DMV Summerfest. This was a great opportunity for the artists to expand their fan base as well as for patrons to get a taste of new music. ShaMain who goes by ShaMain Music on social media really stood out to me. She has an outstanding voice and performed a few covers before performing some of her own original music. ZekeDon also had a great stage presence and a nice polished sound.
The show than moved onto the main acts beginning with Grenadian soca artist Skinny Banton who got the crowd moving.
Half Pint then followed and had the crowd singing along to his classic reggae hits.
Next up was Demarco who got the crowd hype. In addition to his singing he entertained the crowd with his dance moves and finished by bringing some ladies on stage for a wining contest.
Demarco with one of the dancing contest participants
As soon as I-Octane entered the stage he jumped out into the crowd to bring the show closer to his fans. I-Octane walked through the VIP section and hopped over the fence and performed most of his set in the general admission section with the crowd. He only returned to the stage when his microphone began to malfunction. After returning to the stage I-Octane let the crowd know he had a strong back and convinced a fan to join him on stage. I-Octane took a little tumble and dropped her, but she was a good sport and he was nice enough to give her $100 for joining him on stage.
Mr. Vegas was next on the lineup and his performance did not let the audience down. Mr. Vegas refused to leave the stage until he performed all the hits his fans came to see and included a tribute to several artists during his fast paced segment. Although Mr. Vegas is primarily known as a dancehall artist, he displayed his versatility as he mentioned “One Caribbean”, and had the crowd dancing to dancehall, reggae and soca hits.
Soca Sensation Rupee
Bajan soca sensation, Rupee, took a chartered jet to Baltimore so he could perform at both the Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest in New York and DMV Summerfest. Without missing a beat, he ran on stage jumping up and down; his energy was contagious as the crowd moved to all his soca hits.
Destra shut DMV Summerfest down. Destra is definitely known as the Queen of Bacchanal for a reason. Before she entered the stage, she spoke to the crowd through her microphone and her voice alone had the crowd rushing to the front of the stage. Destra mentioned how even with her segment being short on time she wanted to make sure she interacted her fans. It was amazing to see her literally move the entire crowd right to left, wave their flags, wine and jump up and down as she sang her carnival hits, closing out the innaugural DMV Summer Fest in grand carnival style.
DMV Summerfest is definitely on my festival list for next year. I look forward to enjoying the food, music and culture. I can’t wait to see the line up next year and hope they continue to have a nice mixture of dancehall, reggae and soca.