MIAMI, Fla. – Saturday was Earth Day, a time to reflect on the future of our planet and participate in activities that will help ensure our future existence without destroying the environment. That message was also being transmitted from the stage at Bayfront Park Amphitheater for the debut of Kaya Fest.
The organizers positioned the all-day reggae festival as a vehicle to promote awareness and support for legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes. And they had quite a receptive crowd in downtown Miami on Saturday; many of whom were already enjoying the recreational side of the situation!
NORML had an informational tent sent up as did several other pro-cannabis organizations; in addition to the usually pot-friendly atmosphere of vending you would find at any all-day festival, but especially at a reggae-heavy show! The Cannabis Car even made an appearance; with creator Bruce Dietzen holding forth on his plans to create a fully carbon-neutral automobile as Henry Ford intended to make!
The music featured an all-star gallery of reggae greats, kicking off with The Bad Boys of Reggae; Inner Circle! They had fans up and dancing with hits like "Sweat (A La La La La Long) and of course "Bad Boys"! Founding members Ian and Roger Lewis were holding it down like the day they started the band back in 1968!
Shifta and Cultura Profectica kept the party going with their sets before Trinidad's Bunji Garlin hit the stage with his frenentic soca set! The crowd kept growing throughout the day; despite the overcast sky and occasional shower (which later turned into a downpour once the sun went down).
The music turned to a dancehall vibe when it was time for Sean Paul's set. He had everyone up and grooving to hits like "Baby Boy" and "I'm Still In Love With You"!
By the time Wyclef Jean hit the stage, the Amphitheater was PACKED. It was almost impossible to pick your way through all of the blankets and chairs set up in the lawn areas; not that anyone minded if you accidentally stepped in their zone. There was such a friendly, all are welcome vibe going on all day (and night) long! Fans were dancing and singing along with Wyclef hits like "Gone 'Til November"!
Then, it was time for the main event-the Marley Brothers, performing live together on the same stage for the first time in 20 years! Julian, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian and Ky Mani Marley all rocked the house, along with Skip and Jo Mersa Marley and special guest Lauryn Hill! Fans were treated to their favorite hits along with live versions of their dad's greatest songs! People were dancing and singing along, oblivious to the rain as they enjoyed a great Saturday night at Bayfront Park. I can't wait for next year's lineup to be announced!