Weeks before the event the word was all over the streets about the Reggae World Unity Festival, we heard it on Power 96, 99Jams, WAVS, BET, MTV, VHI, the underground stations, the city bus, posters, flyers, tweets, Facebook, emails and of course the National Weekly.
Yes folks the buzz was all over south Florida. So it was of no
surprise when over 8000 people showed up at the Grand Central Park on Sunday for the big event.The Grand Central Park nestled
in the heart of Downtown Miami was transposed into Reggae Heaven, with the sites and sounds of Jamaica. The aroma of Jerk Chicken and other Caribbean indulgences filled the air of Downtown Miami as patrons prepared for the anticipated sounds of Jamaica’s indigenous music.
Mello Sound of West Palm Beach was no disappointment as they delivered not 24 but 32 double eighteens speakers of RAW RUB A DUB sounds. DJ Martel the Mixer and Fergie and Springer ensured that the crowd was in the mood for a day of undiluted Reggae Music. The ladies wine to the beat as they sang along to the their favorite hits.
At 3:45 comedian “Rayzor” of Bet fame, strolled on the stage dressed for a hot summers day, because you know in Miami we get summer days in January, “I am just saying”. Rayzor warmed up the crowd with his usual humor touching on Jamaican and Haitian accents, but it was time to kick the show into first gear.
Local talent “Zeke Don and the Team Reggae Pop” graced the stage in fine style delivering their original flair incorporating dance and song. After their impressive performance Rayzor introduced the number one dancehall backup band in the world, “Ruff Kutt”, they checked their sound with an instrumental classic, before up and coming dancehall diva “Tifa” hit the stage with a remarkable performance that made many of the patrons take notice. Followed by South Florida’s own “Honorebel”, who with his confidence and expertise had the crowd eating out of his hands, in one song he featured violinist brothers, “Sons of Maestro”, and the crowd went frantic. Radio personality “Miss Kitty” from Kingston Jamaica entered the stage and performed a monologue that had the audience in stiches, she then proceeded to introduce veteran singer “Half Pint”, who bust on the stage with his Reggae anthem, “Greetings I Bring Fro Jah”, Half Pint proceeded to reel off hit after hit which from the audience sounded like a sing a long.
An intermission was introduced so that patrons could sample the many delicacies the day had to offer. The temperature skyrocketed when the energy god “Elephant man”, sprang on stage displaying his usual frolics, bouncing and prancing all over the 40 ft. stage, at one point he was hoist to the top of the speaker boxes which had some fans cringing with elation, after Elephant’s wild performance a tempo check was needed, so with a quick set change, the son of Reggae legend Bob Marley, “Kymani Marley” introduced his vibe to the RWU crowd, before he closed out his set he introduced his 16 year old son KJ, who pounced on his dad’s rhythms spitting out his own original rap lyrics, which was well received by the audience, Kymani of course sang a few of Bob Marley songs which capped the vibes of Reggae World Unity.
Another quick band change, and now its time for the undisputed Queen of the dancehall “Lady Saw”, not Marion Hall the REAL RAW REBEL SAW, and folks, she was no disappointment, Saw reeled off hits after hits, stunt after stunt creating a non stop electrifying performance that we have not seen from Lady Saw in a while, the highlight of her performance is when Elephant man came back on stage to perform their duet, and what a performance that was, a full size young lady was summoned from the audience to dance with Elephant Man, and needless to say Ele met his match, after that perspiring performance we needed a chill pill which we got from the young crooner “Christopher Martin” who swaged his way on to the stage and immediately targets the hundreds of ladies tugging at his pants, his dulcet voice filled the Grand Central Park like a Reggae angel serving the gospel of love for the ladies.
After Christopher Martin’s impressive performance, a quick introduction was giving to up and coming singer “J.R. Evan” who walked on stage and belt out a few lines of Sam Cooke’s, “A Change is Gonna Come”, to the screams of the audience. This is one we must watch.
There is only one name for Mr. Vegas, “Hit Maker”, Vegas spiraled to the stage to the yelps of the ladies, and MV continued to spool off hits after hits after hits, while the audience fused with him at every turn. Intertwine in his set, he offered the audience Reggae classics that turned up the temperature even more. The show was on, and the bar was set.
To keep the vibe flowing the heat continued as Baby Cham is introduced to the wailing of the ladies, Cham danced his way to the stage and kept dancing to the end of his set, Cham took his audience back to his first release at 15 years old right up to present.
Now Grand Central Park is on fire, can it get any hotter? Ladies and Gentlemen it’s the Doctor Beenie Man, and all stops are out, three years he has not performed in Miami and he had all intention of giving his all, and that he did, no one in Reggae Dancehall has more hits than Beenie and he displayed them in fine style, sometimes cutting them short just to get some more in for his entreating fans. The doctor spewed his lyrics and strut his steps for 47 minutes, a record here in Miami, the last time he performed here he only received 10 minutes.
A wonderful way to wrap up The Reggae World Unity Festival, a well organized and brilliantly executed event, we look forward for Reggae World Unity 2014.