The first annual Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest in July 2014 was a successful festival with topnotch talent hitting the stage. While Saturday was a bit slow to start and continue, it brought on some true musical heat culminating with the ever-loved Pato Banton singing “Sweet Reggae Music” and other hits like “Stay Positive” and “My Opinion III” and then the popular Michael Rose closing.
Sunday, on the other hand, started almost too early with the crowd pleasers when Indubious came on at noon rather than the printed scheduled 1:15. One fan in attendance stated she came all the way from Las Vegas to see Indubious perform and was grateful she was already chillin’ on the lawn and enjoying the vibes at the fest when they appeared. Sunday was jam packed but still had some gaps in the schedule which were beautifully filled by the impromptu inclusion of Gracie Bassie who was in attendance to play, of course, her Bass and to gift the crowd her own unique vocals.
Ladies got a big boost when Sister Carol hit the stage with her inspiring lyrics and smooth, energetic vocals singing about the Mother Creator. She also raised a few eyebrows and hundreds of smiles at the statement “any time a women gets on stage it should be celebrated … with 24 men on stage, that’s too many balls swingin’.” Sister Carol was a performance to be celebrated by women and men alike. She was cool and strong and magical and a genuine treat to experience at the festival.
Spragga Benz came on the scene admitting he isn’t that great of a singer but no one cared about that little reality as his lyrics and Reggae voice along with passionate and powerful performance brought people to their feet, or nodding and grooving in their lawn chair seats or blankets on the grass. Spragga Benz is another real performer who inspires devoted fans and much love and respect and was a wonderful addition to the extensive Sunday lineup.
Kulcha Knox, Ras Michael and Pressure Busspipe continued to make the day Reggae and related genre filled to the max. There were so many notable talents on stage that it would take pages to highlight each and every one to their due acknowledgment. Billy Mystic (Billy Wilmot) from the Mystic Revealers had a set so short and sweet it could have brought some to tears. His magic wooed and soothed and gifted the festival patrons with a liquid voice and sense of peace. He simply left fans aching for more.
Multiple Reggae, Hip Hop and Rock treats turned the day into a sort of candy store making it difficult to choose a favorite from all the delightful flavors and colors. Curtis Young, “Compton rapper and self-proclaimed West Coast revivalist … and son of the West Coast’s most venerated hip-hop producer, Dr. Dre” was another such treat. Festival founder, Ifa Journey (George Francis) performed with brother Tafari on Saturday and then with his own set on Sunday around 9:00 p.m.
While the Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest billing originally included four Marleys, Kymani Marley was known quite some time in advance to be unable to make the show. Daniel Marley’s inability to make the festival was a bit more of a surprise to those not consistently following the facebook page updates. While the lack of a fuller Ghetto Youths or Marley crew was a bit disheartening if looking forward to the quad of Marley performances, the two closing headliners with Jo Mersa Marley (Bob Marley grandson) and Stephen Marley (third son of Bob Marley) was enough magic to make the festival something to celebrate and plan on attending in years to come. Jo Mersa set the late night mood with his youth and talent as Stephen made the festival crowd dance with excitement.
Since the festival was put together by Ifa Journey and Ghetto Youths (which consists of members Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, Julian Marley, Mr. Cheeks, illestr8, Christopher Ellis, Daniel Bambaata Marley, Jo Mersa Marley, Black Am I, Wayne Marshall, Johnathon Malcolm and Javaughn) hopes are that more of their performances can be looked forward to in upcoming years as the festival continues to grow, irons out the kinks, and eventually becomes so big they have to turn away overfill patrons. The festival is a boost for Oroville and also gives another opportunity for the performing artists to share their skills and love with the world as well as another venue for Reggae fans to come share the joy and celebrate with family, friends and artists from all over the world. You can read more about the Oroville Jamfest and particularly Saturday’s details at Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest pleases crowds.