Every festival has its tone, Sunday, May 25, 2014, Jam Day at The UCLA JazzReggae Festival was labeled as “chill.”
This Memorial Day weekend, the weather was not too hot, not too cold, the bright sun illuminated Intramural field, and a cool breeze kept fans calmed and relaxed. With gates opening before noon, a trail of people entered the last JazzReggae festival at Intramural field. Next year the grass will change to artificial turf and will not be available for the festival. Regardless of the sentimental steps, the crowd laid down their blankets and headed to the refillable water station, then the Guitar Center’s free jam session tent to play on free equipment, later to the giant spinning wheel and seesaws to win free snow cones, just before heading back to the field to enjoy the show.
Jam Day, a small lineup with a bang, and a lot of tap, as Sarah Reich’s Tap Music Project opened the show. Sarah, a Los Angeles native, just turning 25 years old, expressed joy with being invited to the festival for the first time. Dressed in hot pants, and bright shirts, Sarah and her crew infused jazz and hip-hop beats to share the lost art of tap dance to a new generation. Sarah states tap dance is unique because “it is one of the only art forms that is music and dance at the same time, it’s not only visual but it is audio,” which makes the dance performance more intense for the audience.
The chill factor continued with performances by Georgia Anne Muldrow, and The Internet. Muldrow’s personable set provided an assuring soundtrack as family and friends continued to explore the different exhibits and vendors. Syd “Tha Kyd” of Odd Future, new role as lead vocalist for The Internet, had the crowd vibin’ to Jamiroquai’s melodies and N.E.R.D tracks. The group, who contributes their meeting and success to the Internet, also featured songs from their second album, Feel Good. The Hamilton High Music Academy alum, describes the group’s music as “experimental and soulful,” which had the crowd’s support throughout the entire set. Yells from the field provided encouragement for the vocalist as she debated with performing with shoes on or off.
The chill vibe did get broken up when another So. Cal native, Aloe Blacc and his super-hyped band entered the stage. Dressed in a fitted black suit, and light blue shirt, Blacc had the crowd on their feet, stepping, and clapping before too long. With recent tragedies on the minds of many, Blacc offered an inspirational performance recalling the day he was fired from his day job, which propelled him to become CEO of his own life. Blacc has never looked back, but only continues to grow as an artist and performer, which was evident by the diverse songs he performed. The crowd wanting to hear everything from Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” to hits singles “I Need a Dollar,” and “The Man,” also called Blacc back for two encore songs, including a slow sensual rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” which brought the crowd back to super chill mode.
After a long wait that allowed people to recharge on food and drinks, the headliner, Snoop Dogg entered the stage with dreaded twist and reflective gold accessories, while wearing an UCLA #19 black jersey. Although Snoop performed some tracks from his Snoop Lion’s album, he also performed his hits from 1992. West Coast music has its own unique rhythms that made the audience “drop it,” “bounce it,” and “shake it,” to the urging of Snoop and his Dogg Pound DJ, Daz. Although the West Side is the best side, Snoop gave a tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G.
Even without a hologram, Snoop also praised Nate Dogg and Tupac Shakur with a series of songs that the crowd twisted their hands and feet to. Snoop’s performance evoked nostalgia with the Generation X’ers, while keeping it youthful for the Millennials with the performance of “Young, Wild, & Free.” At the end of the festival there was no catastrophe or fights. The crowd left saying “today was a chilled day.”
For more information on UCLA’s Jam and Reggae Day visit HERE.