The 22nd staging of The People’s Festival was held Saturday, July 30th, 2016 along the Christina River at Tubman Garrett Park in Wilmington, Delaware. Despite the scattered showers throughout the latter half of the day, many patrons celebrated in their tents, under their umbrellas or just danced in the rain until the last performance. The festival is an annual family friendly celebration to preserve and honor the legacy of Bob Marley.
The People’s festival was nicely organized and included free parking available in a nearby lot for patrons. Upon entering, the road to the left was made into a shopping lane with several vendors. The vendors were selling everything from reggae apparel, oils, incence, jewelry and art. Dash of Sol had some paintings for sale as well as several remarkable pieces created with canvas and duct tape. I fell in love with the bindis, tribal necklaces and headwraps that Nishkami had for sale in their beautifully decorated booth.
To the right was a lot full of several international food vendors with something for everyone including all types of food, snacks, cakes and beverages to choose from. One of my favorites was the coconut and sugar cane vendor. I’m always reminded of a tropical vacation after watching a coconut cut open, then enjoying the fresh coconut water.
The festival had a diverse line-up of many acts including Banda La Union De Mexico, The Limits, Universal Funk Order, Brixton Saint, Spokey Speaky, The Kooligans and Richard Raw. The crowd was in for a treat before Quinto Sol began their performance. As the Aztec dancers entered the general admission area in front of the stage wearing colorful, beaded and feathered costumes everyone moved closer to get a better view of what was about to happen. The drummer provided the rhythm and they went on to perform a beautiful dance for the crowd. Quinto Sol then went on to perform in both Spanish and English. Alika who is also known for her Spanish reggae was next to hit the stage to get everyone moving.
Mykal Rose was up next, and he took the crowd to Jamaica as he delivered a high energy performance singing and engaging the crowd. The rain began to fall again as Dumpstaphunk hit the stage but as soon as the crowd heard the funky rhythm they were up dancing to the beat.
The rain was back but the section in front of the stage got thick with patrons trying to get a good spot before the headlining act, Ky-Mani Marley, even entered the stage. During Ky-Mani’s hour-long set, he performed several of his hits such as Concrete Jungle, New Heights, Hustler, Get High, Keepers of the Light, and Rasta Man. Ky-Mani paid tribute to his father Bob Marley performing several classics including Jammin’, Iron Lion Zion and Is This Love.
The lights on stage shut off and it set the mood as supporting vocalist Yendi Songbird joined Ky-Mani to perform Turn Your Lights Down Low. Ky-Mani went on to close his set letting the crowd know he was told he could only perform one more song, before singing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
At the close of the show; hosts, organizers and co-founder of the People’s Festival, Genny Pitts, came on stage and thanked everyone for coming and sticking it out through the rain. The crowed chanted Ky-Mani after being asked if they wanted more Ky-Mani Marley. Ky-mani joined them on stage and closed the show performing the song People’s Festival closes with every year, One Love!