This event is not for the faint hearted or the tired. It is not for the persons afraid of the high grade or the fire. It is however, a show that promotes the roots and culture aspect of Reggae music. As one person said, "More Rasta in yah, than Bald Head. We haff fi turn one to."
As a first timer to this annual event put on by Tony Rebel for his earth day, I was in the house to help him celebrate with twelve hours of some of the best performers, Reggae had to offer. The vendors were ever present, offering the high-grade (college) weed as one seller called out. Ital meals were as plentiful as the red, green and gold banners and flags waving frantically to the sky. Not once did I see a green, black and yellow. Was I in JA?
Port Kaiser Sports Club in St. Elizabeth, or St. Bess, as it is affectionately called, was the venue for the tenth anniversary of Rebel Salute. Rebel Salute started in Manchester with such performers as Garnett Silk, Buju Banton and of course Tony Rebel. It has now grown to be the largest roots show in Jamaica. One didnít have to sit or stand and cringe at the foul language coming out of anyoneís mouth. Mr. Reneto Adams didnít have to invoke the Lewd and Indecent Act against any performers. Instead, patrons were treated to the superb performances of Buju Banton, Sizzla, Capleton, and Luciano. Tony Rebel, Beres Hammond, Mykal Rose, Bob Andy, Queen Ifrika, Nadine Sutherland, George Nooks, and Culture made significant impressions. Jessie Jendau promised to behave because his empress was in the house. Jah Mason and Chuck Fender got nuff waves when they touched their popular songs.
Each performer added his, or her, own blend to the night of salute. The firecrackers and torches were in overdrive when Sizzla and Capleton graced the stage, transforming the sky above to a canopy of clouds. What could be better that the sun coming up, and the ground fires burning, and Capleton on stage, working his magic.
A notable performance from Abijah. He is young and has the fire of Hugh Mundell but he needs to lose the Bob Marley mannerism. Luciano was his ever-spiritual self, casting a calming effect on the massive crowd. Beres was in the house, but this crowd wanted the love from the rootsier fire loving crew. Buju you performed well. I guess I will see you in NY. Sizzla lived up to his name; he was sizzling, as he entered the stage with his own fireworks, in the front of the stage. Capleton maintained his title for the early morning. The Fireman was burning on stage and causing more fires to burn on the grounds of the sports club.
The screens were welcomed especially for those way in the back, chilling out on the reggae beds and the college grade.
If you had the sense to park the vehicle along the road, far from the venue and walk the way in, you were the smart ones. Otherwise, you were stuck behind a parked car, three rows wide and no way to get out until hours later.
The only downer for me was the constant band change and the slowness of the house set to kick in and fill the space. All right, Muta, enough already.
Big up to Sistren Pleasant for sharing her intent, sistrens Takia, Paulette, Cuchie, Zuleka, Claire, Ita, Montes, and Brethren Winston for making the group possible. To Flames Production, see you next strong.
Mi deh yah now!
MORECULTURE.COM COPYRIGHT 2003 J. MCFARQUHAR
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