The Woodbury Reggae Fest, the longest running reggae festivals of its kind on the US eastern seaboard will celebrate its 38th anniversary on June 26 & 27 at the Woodbury Ski & Skate Park with an impressive 13 bands that will perform a wide cross-section of reggae styles, from Jamaican roots, rock, reggae to punk fusion and everything in between.
Event organizers Rod Taylor said the festival has showcased some of the biggest reggae acts over the past three decades including UB 40, Aswad, Steele Pulse, Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, Freddy McGregor, Lt. Stitchie and Alpha Blondy.
“I am extremely proud of the festival’s track record over the years of great performances by some of reggae’s most celebrated stars. I am promising patrons another extraordinary display of talent, pulsating sounds and hypnotic reggae rhythms from the Caribbean and beyond when we kick things off on June 26” he noted.
Roots reggae singer I Wayne, who blasted on the music scene with his mega hits “Living In Love” and “Can’t Satisfy Her” will headline the 2-day event. I Wayne who was born Cliffroy Taylor in Portmore, Jamaica is a passionate performer who single-handedly led a new wave of roots and culture reggae music that swept the island of Jamaica a few years ago. He was the first cultural reggae artist to be added to Hot 97 in New York, a station notorious for its hip hop influence. His popular track ‘Can’t Satisfy Her’ caught on in several markets and even charted on Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Singles charts. The fiery tone of the track describes the desperate reality of prostitution, poverty, and sexually transmitted diseases in Jamaica. His debut album, Lava Ground which featured the song was praised for returning reggae to it’s “essential roots.”
New Jersey-based deejay Lushy Banton will also join the lineup for this year’s festival. Lushy shot to center stage two years ago when he penned and released his hit single Obama just before the last presidential elections. The song brought Lushy new attention and enabled him to win numerous awards and accolades. More recently he released Black, Gold & Green, a tribute song in celebration of Jamaica’s athletic prowess done with Sheila Hylton and Elvis D.
Special guest performer at the festival is New Kingston Band – featuring Tahir “Slim” Panton (keyboards), Courtney M. Panton (drums) and Stephen “SUKI” Suckarie on guitar. The group fuses reggae sound with modern pop, jazz and R&B music for a palatable mix that is loved by all. Fresh from winning an award at the 2010 International Reggae awards the talented band members are rearing to explode on stage in Connecticut.
US based The Fear Nuttin Band from Massachusetts, another band that will perform combines roots reggae with a hard driving rock & roll sound. The band consists of Roosta and Prowla (vocals), Jay Chung (guitar), Matt Penza (drums), Chris Regan (guitar) and Brian Daigle (bass). Drawing influences from all over the global musical map, Jonathan Waxman puts his own unique spin on Folk, Rock, and Reggae. Bouncing back and forth from an acoustic and an electric sound, he shows his musical versatility in performance and song-writing alike.
Love Something Different, also scheduled to play the Woodbury Reggae Fest, is a reggae blues jam band from southern Connecticut. The band combines multiple styles and influences from Bob Marley to Sublime to Jimi Hendrix. Jamaican-born singer-songwriter Misteree returns to the stage at the Woodbury Reggae Fest, to perform her hit single, “Just As I Am” and other songs, along with Hartford artist Sledge and break-out artist Dadre Coleman. Pulse Prophets out of Burlington, Vermont formed as a socially conscious group fuses reggae, R&B, funk, hip-hop, Latin, and Afro-beat. The band consists of Elijah Kraatz (lead vocals), Rudy Dauth (guitar, harmony vocals), Andric Severance (keyboards), Alex Budney (bass), and Ryan Clausen (drums).
One Band International features the music of Iyah Phanso with a talented and energetic cast of musicians/singers who came together to deliver conscious lyrics. The Hartford based group boast members from Jamaica, St. Croix, the Virgin Islands and Guyana. Roast Beef Curtains are three Hofstra University graduates from Long Island, NY. Their sound is inspired by tight reggae rhythms and punk music. Since 2005, the trio has played over 200 shows and has created a buzz from Manhattan to Montauk. The band consists of Andrew Gedacht (vocals, guitar), John Carey (bass, backup vocals) and Mike Celano (drums).
In addition to the pulsating music, the Woodbury Reggae Fest offers a skateboard park, a vendors pavillion, creek-side swimming and camping. Gates at the festival open each day at 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. One-day tickets cost $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Two-day tickets cost $45 in advance, $60 at the door.