Rasjohnmon's   Report from the Yard for August 11th

Reggae SumFest


Kingston, Jamaica's capital on the eastern end of the island, about 120 miles away, had been hit with four inches of rain as a tropical depression slid through the area but here in MoBay the sun was shining. For the last two days we had not even had the normal afternoon thunderstorms.

All the thunder has been reserved for the stage. Make a joyful noise unto Jah! With the festival moving into the big second half, the show’s international audience is going strong. Chalice is the first band up tonight and as they begin to pump out a mesmerizing groove, Japanese, German, British and Canadian music fans mix with the huge American and Jamaican contingents to form a wonderfully diverse crowd that is sharing in the unity of the event. Beyond the number of nationalities and cultures, every economic level is represented in a crowd that has universally been brought together to share four days of love and respect. While technical and logistic challenges have needed constant behind the scenes attention, the audience has been a producer’s dream come true. With Red Stripe Beer, Tings' (a delicious carbonated grapefruit drink) and the pungent aroma of Jah herb flowing through the crowd, a joyful 4-day musical community has come together for this event.

With the exception of a few short breaks of 10-15 minutes for band changes, the music has been non-stop with even the newer and unsigned early acts on each bill delivering dynamite sets. Early on in tonight’s festivities, Carlene Davis brings the crowd together with one of the clear highlight performances of the night. It's so good the show's television producer/director, Neil Olshansky, corners her after the set to try and line her up for another project he is working on.

Through the night, Everton Blender, Freddie McGregor, Buju Banton, and Frankie Paul deliver equally hot sets helping to keep nearly all of the 25,000 - 30,000 fans on their feet skanking for the entire 12 hours of performances. With the warm sun already high in the sky, one of the all greats of Reggae music, Dennis Brown, brings the night’s festivities to a joyful close at 8 AM and our Reggae community disperses to hotels, beaches and many off to work hoping to get enough rest so that they will be fresh for the big finale tonight. Feet and bodies are weary but spirits are high with anticipation for the performances that will be starting in a few hours.

transmitted from the site 8/12/95 @ 22:27