The “king”, the “queen”, and thousands of loyal dancehall fans came together to fete at Brandons Beach, St Michael, yesterday evening for the Digicel Reggae Beach Party.
Scheduled to start at 3 p.m., the opening show for the week-long Digicel Reggae Festival got underway shortly after 5p.m. Hundreds of concertgoers were already waiting and more continued to stream through the gate.
The crowd enjoyed the opening performances of local artistes Gucci, Versee Wild, Mr Levi and the G81 Crew, however it was clear that they were waiting for the “king and queen of dancehall”, headliners Beenie Man and Lady Sawh.
As an unrelenting flow of reggae enthusiasts made their way to the grounds, the sounds of Peter Ram, Most Wanted, Fantom Dundeal and LRG, Omar McQuilkin and Kirk Brown in particular helped take the energy level up a notch.
While concertgoers continued to wait, DJs John Doe, Assassin, Underdog, and Lil Rick kept them geared up.
When Lady Sawh finally made her way to the stage, the crowd was ready.
The audience within the venue easily numbered in the thousands and hundreds more listened from outside.
The Grammy Award-winning Sawh brought her characteristic, unabashed, sexual lyrics and the throng loved it. Her performance included some of her latest hits such as Sweetest Ride and Tighta, but it was classics such as Sycamore Tree that got the largest crowd response.
A light rain started to fall and the show could’ve ended there with most in attendance satisfied. But there was more – it was Beenie’s turn. However, before Beenie Man, a Grammy Award winner in his own right, made his way to the stage, he paid tribute to Buju Banton, reggae’s legend who was recently found guilty in a drug case. It was a small act, but one that was supported by the audience.
Once in front of the crowd, “De Girls Dem Sugar” performed many of his hits from the past two decades. From Slam to Rum And Red Bull, had Beenie chanted but the first verse of every song it wouldn’t have mattered – the crowd chanted the rest. He also did a couple covers from outside the reggae genre much to everyone’s delight.
At 9:30 p.m. the show came to an end. As some of the audience slowly began to leave, many lingered wanting to enjoy what remained of the vibe. Whether the rest of the $1.4 million Reggae Festival is a success remains to be seen. However, if yesterday evening was any indication, there are good things to come.