No Matter What, You Can’t Rain on My Reggae! LakeFest 2011 Wet and Wicked Fun

Report by Grace Vanriel, Reggae Reflection Correspondent
Photos by Empress K, Reggae Reflection Editor

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Lakefest CT flyer

On Sunday, August 14, 2011, Hapilos Entertainment, an all inclusive entertainment company based in Jamaica West Indies with a focus on Reggae, Dancehall and Caribbean entertainment in partnership with DNZ Promotions head by one of the few undisputed first ladies of Reggae well known as a DJ, producer and radio personality on Hot 93.7 Radio, Diva Nikki Z produced a super-fantastic outdoor concert billed as the 1st Annual Lakefest in Colchester, CT.  The big risk when producing outdoor concerts is always the possibility of inclement weather and it rained like there was no tomorrow. But when you produce and deliver a top quality  Roots & Culture lineup with headliners to the likes of  Beres Hammond, Etana, Wayne Wonder, Anthony B alongside other fantastic artists and bands such as Derrick Barnett & The Statement Band, Don Minott & The High Voltage Band, Blaq Capone this concert proved that you can count on fans coming.


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In route to the concert with the Reggae Reflection crew it rained so hard that I was convinced that we’d arrive only to find that the concert had been postponed.  Instead we encountered a small but steady flow of people as we passed through the security checkpoint. Once inside the main stage area I was pleasantly surprised to see a decent number of people in front of the stage armed with umbrellas, outfitted in raincoats, standing and seated in folding chairs and others not so prepared in every conceivable sheltered corner of the beautiful and spacious outdoor venue. You don’t usually see so many people out in the rain and that told me that fans had been looking forward to the Lakefest concert and they came prepared to stay…no matter what. 


The crowd and production team all prepared to withstand the rain

The rain eventually stopped but well before it did the 1st Annual Lakefest was already a hit. Although not completely filled to capacity it was very well attended and a true family day generating lots of enthusiasm. A very friendly multicultural crowd of attendees enjoyed the opening acts and patronized the vendors; numerous adults mingled while teenagers enjoyed themselves dancing while young children romped in the rain and simply wore themselves out having fun.  It just goes to show that when you put together a quality lineup and back it with a no holds barred promotional effort, nothing will stop fans from taking notice and supporting the effort. As a strong advocate for building the next generation of true Reggae lovers, it also goes to show that parents will indeed bring their children to concerts and shows if they trust the producers knowing they’ll provide a lineup and content appropriate for young audiences.  

Fans enjoying their time at Lakefest

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So what did I like best about Lakefest 2011? Just about everything! While I did not have a chance to fully explore the grounds, what I saw on the way inside the concert was a lovely location complete with a running stream and acre’s of space. Naturally, all of the performances were excellent and complemented each other well – no slackers took the stage. Anthony B was amazing not only because his music is hot but because he truly knows how to entertain an audience. The rich and melodic voice of Wayne Wonder also went over extremely well with the fans as he too gave his all. I had not attended a concert featuring Etana for a while now so I was anxious to see what if anything would be different. I was delighted to hear her once again belting out songs in her traditional strong and confident style. Derrick Barnett & The Statement Band gave an amazing high-energy performance putting down some moves that won’t soon be forgotten. Superstar Beres Hammond gave what can best be described as a fever pitched and moving performance singing almost every single hit tune he’s ever recorded; at several points during his energetic performance he danced and interacted with the audience reaching out and touching the eager hands of fans who were reaching for the stage in anxious delight for a chance to touch his hand. I must say that Beres Hammond always sings and performs with passion and although it’s hard to explain, this time was obviously different. Clearly fans picked up on that too as towards the very end of his performance, many in the area where I was standing were so moved they were brought to tears.  Best of all, Nikki Z and her partners delivered every artist to the stage as advertised and the day was filled to the max with a feeling of pure love and good vibes. If they repeat what they accomplished this year and I am sure they will, Lakefest 2012 will be a guaranteed hit!


High – energy entertainment by Derrick Barnett, Etana, Anthony B, and Wayne Wonder prepare the crowd for Beres Hammond

Beres Hammond and the Harmony House Band close out the show with a heart-felt performance

Reggae Reflection 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

See Slide show of all photos below

Lakefest CT Photo Gallery 

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