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Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest pleases crowds

Mr Suprize gave the crowd a treat in his performance
Mr Suprize gave the crowd a treat in his performance
Susan Raines

On July 19-20, 2014 the first Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest took place in Oroville, CA. In 2013, Ifa Journey put together a small festival celebrating the birthday of H.I.M. Majesty and decided to make it an annual event to share in the love and celebration of the Rastafari culture. Ifa Journey and Ghetto Youths came together and brought their family music wisdom into the mix with their elders being actual Reggae forefathers Bob Marley and Ras Benji. A dedicated team of organizers including Ifa's beautiful wife Sharon Francis who remained constantly busy, volunteers, security headed by Royal Garrison Jr., and other individuals brought the festival together with an overall thumbs up.

Blaze1 and the Pyrex Band
Blaze1 and the Pyrex Band
Susan Raines

While there were some complaints voiced and easily understood, the majority of the festival attendees came out smiling, particularly on the more successful second day on Sunday, July 20. There were a few snags on Saturday that created delays in performances and two artists, HR from the Bad Brains and Kulcha Knox, being moved to the following day and Iqulah was absent for unknown reasons. Saturday's lineup remained delightful with a mix of Reggae and a touch of opening Hip Hop with young and motivated Cody Goodliffe of Twisted Strategies backed by DJ Rudedawg (Rudy Betancourt). While some die-hard Reggae fans may not have appreciated the Hip Hop inclusion, Goodliffe had his place on the stage and the blunt lyrics had a message of their own to deliver that might be too easily overlooked if you only heard the individual words relating to drugs and sex but telling a story about real challenges in today's society.

Each attendee in the festival crowd had their personal favorites. Some came out specifically to hear the bands known for providing genre blended notes with Mystics Roots defining their music as Reggae/Hip hop/RockRootstronica and Indubious defining theirs as Reggae/Rock/Electronica/Psychedelia/Jam. However they define or categorize themselves, they are well loved for good reason. Mystic Roots established themselves as Pato Banton's band before they struck out on their own frontrunner path and created thousands of loyal fans. The incredible story of Indubious makes their music all that much more inspiring. Their music stands tall on its own but their history of battling extreme challenges makes one want to stand up and salute. "Having been born with Cystic Fibrosis, the Indubious brothers were given a grim diagnoses at birth with a life expectancy of 18 years. Now 29 and 31, respectively, the brothers have persevered. Evton recently received a double lung transplant in 2011 resulting in a full recovery. Convinced by doctors of their impending death from an early age, their only choice has always been mind over matter. Time has proven that their unbending positive outlook combined with an inspiring message of love and hope, has not only helped them overcome personal hardship, but catapulted their music onto the world stage with an unstoppable momentum."

Others came out to see the Saturday headliners Pato Banton and Mykal Rose. Pato Banton and his Now Generation Band simply spread Love all over the stage and through the ethers. They are a group of both musically and spiritually blessed people who bring audiences to greater heights during their energetic and sincere performances. Their constant movement and passion delight the eyes, heart and ears. The two horn players, Ruben and Cedric, dance in unison (as much as a horn player playing his sweet notes can) with their well-timed side to side steps as Pato stepped all over the stage and off onto the barrier to touch the audience and spread the love.

Other notable artists who performed on Saturday included Abja, Empress Akua, Blaze1 and the Pyrex Band, Mr. Suprize, and Tafari. The legendary Mykal Rose closed the day at midnight with a full-fledged Reggae sound enchanting the audience. The stage was beautifully lit with blues and purples and a rainbow of hues but the park was a bit too dark for easy exit. Perhaps one of the small details the organizers may want to note in order to increase patron safety in future years. People sitting on the grass could barely be seen and many were nearly tripped over by fans exiting before the remainder of the crowds decided it was time to depart. The distant porta-potties were also quite a challenge to maneuver to in the dark. Please continue reading at Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest closes with Marleys for more coverage of the 2014 Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest including Stephen Marley, Jo Mersa Marley and Curtis Young.