The 19th staging of Reggae Sumfest at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, St. James was filled with thrills, spills and moments that straddled both extremes during the three show nights of the celebrated calendar event. Below is a list (in no particular order) of what we consider to be some of the most memorable moments from the music festival…some are good, others might cause you to raise your eyebrows. This is by no means a definitive list, so feel free to weigh in and leave your comments.
Summerfest Productions, the organisers of Reggae Sumfest, saluted Beres Hammond as “The King of Lovers Rock” and presented him with a plaque and citation on International Night 2. The honour is well-deserved for a man who has contributed enormously to the growth and development of Jamaican music.
Marion Hall’s duet with Beres
Marion Hall, more popularly known as Lady Saw, shared the stage with Beres Hammond during his set in what was a genuinely pleasant surprise on International Night 2. The two collaborated on the Lady Saw-penned “She Has Changed” – an emotionally gripping song that resonated with the crowd. At the end of their performance, Beres declared, “Now you’re a Lady!”
Fiery forward for I-Octane
From the moment he touched the stage, I-Octane brought the heat and blazed the venue with a barrage of hits. Ardent supporters combined lighters and aerosol cans to create flamethrowers, and what ensued was a fiery sequence that culminated with a bonfire of sorts in the midst of the crowd. Luckily, it didn’t get out of hand. Speculation spread through the venue like wildfire that this was not a spontaneous episode, but an orchestrated effort…I-Octane simply chalked up the rumours to “badmind”.
Cocoa Tea – Sumfest Hero
He wasn’t originally booked for Reggae Sumfest 2011, but the diminutive reggae veteran from Clarendon made his appearance at the event count and won over patrons with his formidable catalogue and playful jabs at the event organisers. The last-minute cancellation of R. Kelly created room in the line-up for Cocoa Tea, who helped to save International Night 2 and made sure that the American R&B singer was not missed.
Tifa repping for the “maties”
She emerged fresh out the box (literally) for her Reggae Sumfest 2011 performance on Dancehall Night, and subsequently declared that she was repping for “maties”…after all, who told all the “wifeys” to start getting so complacent ‘round here? Loved the cute outfit and coordinated moves with backup dancers.
“Thank you President Obama!” – Mavado
On his way to delivering a well-received set as the penultimate performer on Dancehall Night, the “Long Distant Stulla” paused to briefly acknowledge POTUS for giving him back his US visa. Not sure President Obama had a direct hand in the process, but who knows? He may have the best of the Gully Gad on his iPod.
Kartel wardrobe malfunction
We didn’t stay until the very end to see Vybz Kartel in action, but according to reports, the self-proclaimed “Dancehall Hero” performed to tracks and that didn’t go down well with a lot of folks in the venue. The reviews of his performance were mixed at best…he was allegedly booed. To make matters worse, it appears that during the course of his performance, the crotch of his pants gave way. A Commission of Inquiry is likely to be launched to determine if this is a genuine wardrobe malfunction or another Kartel stunt.
Dancehall gets another Hero – Captain (America) Elephant
Ahead of the theatrical release of “Captain America”, the “Energy God” Elephant Man donned the costume of the Marvel superhero (including shield) on Dancehall Night. He even had a superhero pose to go along with it, and the crowd was in a state of awe/confusion for few seconds. We’re still searching for a plausible reason for Ele wearing that Captain America suit.
Nicki Minaj did it on ‘em
The headliner on International Night 2 gave it to the crowd straight, no chaser. Her profanity-laced set (which only cost her a J$1,000 fine) was lapped up by true Minaj fans who really couldn’t give a F-*-*-K if she cursed, relied on backing vocal tracks at times or even didn’t go full tilt during her set. Don’t get it completely twisted though…the performance still had elements of spunk, sex appeal and pizzazz. There were some patrons in the crowd who were disappointed that she didn’t wear clothing that clearly showed off her assets.
E.T. Webster honoured
Montego Bay’s own Errol ‘ET’ Webster, the roots rock reggae veteran best known for his chart-topping ballad “Can We Meet” in the mid-1980s, received an award for his contribution to Jamaican music. He appeared on the stage in a wheel chair, having suffered a stroke a few years ago, and in one of the more poignant moments of the festival, rolled to the edge of the stage to touch the cheering patrons.
Bunny ‘Jah B” Wailer – the presence of an artiste of his ilk helped to significantly reinforce the “Reggae” in Reggae Sumfest.
Chalice – This band, which boasts a solid legacy in reggae music, played all their hits and teamed up with George Nooks to pay tribute to the late Gregory Isaacs at the close of International Night 2.
Wayne Wonder – He was on the very first Reggae Sumfest, and 19 years later he’s still doing work at the greatest reggae show on earth. He debuted a new collabo, “If I Ever”, with the lovely Mya.
Mya – Some might think it a bit too much to make guest appearances with three artistes at Reggae Sumfest 2011, but we see this as a clear indication of Mya’s love and support of Jamaican music. The American R&B singer might have been put in the awkward position of rejecting a request, but she stepped up and delivered. She was equally gracious and accommodating in the press room. Much props to Mya…she’s a sweetheart!
Booty Dance Misstep – It was cool to see the spotlight on dancing, but this promotional vehicle from Trudy (TruDiva) wasn’t quite ready for the main stage.