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Home arrow News/Reviews arrow Event Reviews arrow Miami Reggae Fest 2011

The Miami Reggae Fest:  Reggae Unity to Feed the Hungry

by Sarah Soutar

Miami, April 2011 - “Sun is shining, weather is sweet, make you wanna move your dancing feet” is the theme perfectly suited for the Miami Reggae Festival held Sunday, April 30, 2011.  Stepping into Peacock Park, we were greeted with positive vibes blaring from the speakers and the distinct scent of jerk chicken in the air. Although the concert was free, each person donated two cans of food for Curley’s House – a local grassroots project serving South Florida’s less fortunate.  


Around 6:30 p.m. the Kulchashok Family entertained and energized the crowd with some good conscious tunes, making it their mission to hype the people for the upcoming performers.  Enter DJ RageNRG / Lee Brown.   He started his set with an impressive dub-step version of Third World’s “Reggae Ambassadors,” apparently the right way to capture the attention of the people. He had everyone swaying to his collection of thumping bass and dub.

The artist Soulflower was up next. Utilizing the rare didgeridoo and hypnotic drums helped add power to her hip–hop/dub style as she spread the message of one love and unity in songs such as “Bless You,” “Lightnin’ Thunder,” and “Ryze.”

Much respect goes out to the next artist, Jah Fe, who came with the very energizing harmonies of a complete horn section. Their set screamed, “We are here to entertain you and you cannot deny the energy of our music.” Performing “Change Hour,” “Soul Rebel,” and “Solution,” to name a few, they had all patrons jumping, screaming, and waving hands. Guitarist Will Mills took a “no prisoners” approach as he commanded attention with his electrifying solos!

Cultura Profetica, Puerto Rico’s Billboard-nominated #1 reggae band, was up next. The crowd was alive for their hour-plus set. Puerto Rican flags were rampant in the crowd when popular songs “Baja La Tension,” “La Complicidad,” “Ritmo Que Pesa,” and “Soy El Verbo” were played. The people sang along with pride as a Latin-inspired cover of Bob Marley’s “Misty Morning” was performed, sending bubbles floating off into the South Florida sky.  Cultura Profetica, in popular demand after the set, granted the people an encore. 

M.C. Lance O came forward and thanked all the musicians and people for coming out. He then announced that things were going to change up as the Satta Drumming Family were called on stage to “bless” the people in Peacock Park. The Satta Drumming Family stepped forward as if the beating of the bongo and djembe drum was their actual heartbeat, moving in unison as if they were the wind in the trees. That was it. We were blessed and ready for Morgan Heritage, the main performers of the night, to take center stage.

The thunderous baritone voice that is unmistakably Gramps Morgan fills the air.  “Miami! Are you ready for some reggae music?” Clearly, yes! Opening with “Don’t Haffi Dread” brought the house down, and everyone in the park was singing along word-for-word with this stellar family act.  Following “Raid Roots Dance” and “I’m Still The Same,” Peetah Morgan stopped and addressed the masses. “How you feeling massive? If you love reggae music, say yes Rasta.” The sporadic response from the people caused Peetah to retort, “I don’t believe you!” He turned to his band of brothers and sister and instructed them to “play low,” and with all the soul from his very core he began singing “Do you love reggae music?  Do you love Peter Tosh? Bob Marley? Bunny Wailer? Luciano? Buju Banton? Beres Hammond?”  It was as if each question mentioning his fellow singers had exhilarated Peacock Park even more, and when asked if they loved Morgan Heritage, an army of 8000 strong erupted with a roar of “Yes Rasta!”  Looking around the park as international favorites “Reggae Bring Back Love” and “Down by the River” were being belted out, flags with the famous Rasta colors of ites, green and gold were flying all over while everyone burst into song and moved to the reggae beat.

A hush came over the crowd when the chorus of “Nothing to Smile ‘Bout” was performed.  “Look at that hungry child, do you see anything to smile ‘bout? Look at the schools where di yute dem get dem education, do you see anything fi smile ‘bout? ” Peetah addresses the people with a challenge, “If you have love and respect for yourselves and the youth of today, let me see you light up the sky!”  Instantly, the lights were dimmed and lighters and cell phone lights illuminated the park while Morgan Heritage brought the exhilarating show to a close.

All in all, it was a day of entertainment based on reggae; however, it showcased global talent and love for the universal language of music. It was a pleasure to see people from South Florida and all around the world come together to dance, laugh, sing, and enjoy the precious gifts of freedom and life, regardless of age or nationality.  Big up and many thanks go out to Rockaz Mvmt. for presenting this day of unity, raising more than $5000 and collecting 2-and-a-half tons of food for Curley’s House.  
In the words of the great Morgan Heritage, “One God, One Aim, One People, One Intelligence.” 
Jah Guide!

JahFe photo by
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