The West Palm Beach edition of Florida’s Jerk Festival was held on Sunday, July 4e ushered in a breath of fresh air for the thousands who flocked to the South Florida Fairgrounds to revel in Caribbean culture and indulge in jerk Jamaican cuisine which included jerk chicken, jerk pork , jerk fish, jerk lobster and even jerk ice cream. Considered one of the culinary events of the Marquis of Florida, the 18the The annual Florida Jerk Festival was not only filled with customers, but also with excitement after a year with rare outdoor entertainment and live events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jamaican Consul General in the Southern United States, Oliver Mair, as well as Commissioner Dale VC Holness, currently a candidate for the Congressional seat held by the late Alcee Hastings, also attended the festivities. The form of the event was somewhat different this year after being rebranded to provide the festival experience both in person and virtually. The festival’s rebranding also resulted in structural changes as well as the adoption of its new name — Florida Jerk Festival — which also features a new logo and website.
A fun and family event
Indeed, the Florida Jerk Festival has always strived to be a fun, family-friendly event. With that in mind, the “Kids’ Zone” offered a number of fun activities, including face painting, rock climbing, the chance to ride a Ferris wheel, as well as a mechanical bull. Thus, families definitely had a good time with their children by being able to have fun in a carnival atmosphere.
Live musical performance and juggling with sound system
To add to the excitement of the festival this year, a top-notch roster of acclaimed musical acts including Jamaican Grammy Award winner Shaggy, soca star Skinny Fabulous from St. the Grenadines; and LUST, the Jamaican-based reggae group that consists of Lukie D, Thriller U, Singing Melody and Tony Curtis. Talented artists, Lici Soul and Hype Type aka Zion Boss were also on the bill. In addition, several renowned Jamaican sound systems and top breeders were on hand to “join in”.
At first things warmed up thanks to Richie Pooh and Waggy T sound selectors who had the South Florida Fairgrounds beating to “oldies but goodies” including “Walk Away From Love” by Bitty Mclean and a host of Bob Marley classics. Dancehall favorites from the 90s were also distributed including “Romie” by Beenie Man, “Bogle” by Buju Banton, “Dolly House” by Spragga Benz and “Worthless Bwoy” by Bounty Killer. Dave Kelly’s “Showtime Riddim” has also been featured extensively in the juggling mix with hits like “Mi Nuh Like” by Spragga Benz, “Gal Pon Di Side” by Frisco Kid, “Eagle and Di Hawk by Bounty Killer,” Bashment Party “by Rayvon and Red Fox,” Searching “by Wayne Wonder and” Hot Gal “by Shaggy who, of course,” shelled di place “later that night.
Legendary Stone Love Immortal head coach Billy Slaughter energized the client crowd with choice dubplates. Based in Kingston, the Jamaica Stone Love sound system was founded by Winston “Wee Pow” Powell in 1972. Mr. Powell built the “sound” from scratch, and all of his persistence and hard work have surely paid off. fruit in seeing that Stone Love has become a household name in Jamaica as one of the island’s most popular “sounds” of all time. Over the years and until today, Stone Love, commonly referred to as “Stone Love Immortal”, is held in high regard in the Jamaican music industry for its superior sound quality and exclusive dubplates, which have not only featured, but have also helped establish the careers of a number of prominent reggae and dancehall artists, such as Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder, Sanchez, Tanya Stephens, Capleton, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, for n ‘ to name a few.
Once the live performance segment of the festivities kicked in, it was obvious that the acts on the line were leaving their mark. To that end, Hype Type aka ‘Zion Boss’ loaded onto stage with ‘suck vibes’ and the crowd immediately rose to their feet as Hype Type launched into their sizzling dancehall style ensemble delivering ‘Fire With Fire’ and ‘My God Love Me’. Hype Type’s lyrics, energy and stage presence were definitely there. As a late addition to the artist roster, Hype Type was keen to make the most of it and gave festival goers everything it had and more.
Vicentian soca sensation Skinny Fabulous also brought a “full heap” of energy as he bounced the large crowd to his catchy hit songs. The multi-faceted Skinny Fabulous also seduced festival-goers with its interpretation of some great dancehall hits in an ode to the genre and to the delight of the public. Skinny Fabulous has certainly shown why he is a five-time Soca Monarch winner after making history in Trinidad and Tobago by winning the Road March 2019 title with his hit “Famalay” which features Trinidadian Soca artists, Bunji Garlin, Alvarez and Machel Montano.
The sultry vocals, LiCi Soul, had an eclectic vibe to her performance ensemble and didn’t hesitate to show off her impressive vocal range and unique sound. Raised in Jamaica, LiCi Soul was inspired by Sade, Anita Baker and The Wailers, and many more. These inspirations certainly flowed through his music, which had a harmonious fusion of reggae and R&B. The vibe at LiCi Soul was certainly refreshing in every aspect.
LUST, with the singers LUkie D, Thriller U, Sing Melody & Tony Curtis, linked the festival goers with their harmonies and vocal skills. The group was founded by Singing Melody in the 2000s and their undeniable chemistry was evident as they effortlessly swapped songs and verses as they progressed in their collective performance on stage.
International reggae and dancehall sensation Shaggy closed the night off on a high note and her fans definitely waited into the night and endured the pouring rain to see a legend in action. Shaggy, as always, didn’t disappoint by producing a barrage of hits from his enviable safe, including “Oh Carolina,” “Mr. Boombastic ‘, and’ It wasn’t ‘me.’ Shaggy has Accumulated over 30 million album sales and a mountain of successes over his decades-long career. His most recent hit song, ‘Go Down Deh’ currently dominates reggae music charts around the world with 11 million views on YouTube, and the song is a collaborative effort with Sean Paul and Spice, who is widely regarded these days as the Queen of Dancehall.
In retrospect, the 18e The annual Florida Jerk Festival was no doubt a great relief to the crowds of festival-goers who filled the South Florida Fairgrounds. It is a great relief that the Covid-19 pandemic – which has cast a veil over the music and entertainment industry for the past year and a half – is finally starting to break down, allowing for big events such as the Jerk Festival to take place. take place at full speed. In addition, many other events are now scheduled and this is exactly what reggae and soca music lovers and Caribbean foodies alike are relishing.
All photos were taken by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.