By: Michelle Thomas
Photography By: Marie Mendoza
Phoenix, Arizona known as the Valley of the sun, debuted their first Annual Reggae Springfest produced by MG Music Promotions. With 3,200 people on site mellow vibes permeated the family event. The festival included a variety of food vendors, arts & crafts, along with a children's playground which included jumpers and skateboard ramps. Michael Gayle, of MG Music Promotions stated, "It was like a family barbeque and we plan on getting bigger and bigger."
The festival featured some of Reggae's legendary acts. Highlights included Michigan & General Smiley who jump-started the crowd as they appeared on stage and energized the fans with their dance moves. Fans swayed back and forth, waved their flags, and sang along to every tune. They performed a rendition of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and a crowd favorite tune "Diseases". As they delivered their encore performance with "Sugar Daddy," they jokingly called the Phoenix crowd greedy for wanting more.
Everton Blender, said to be one of the few conscious dancehall singers, had fans grooving to his dancehall beats & conscious roots vibes. Blender had General Smiley dancing along the sideline. He performed tunes like "Lift Up Your Head", "Tabernacle Tree", & "Little Green Apples". He imparted to audience members the true meaning of Rastafari, which means Head Creator, and continued with his encore performance.
Sister Carol, backed by the Yellow Wall Dub Squad rocked the stage. Also known as Isis, Mother Culture, and the Black Cinderella, she delivered a thrilling and powerful performance. She spoke about women's empowerment and education, saying, "I'm not dissin my bredrens just asking for more support for the sistrens, to bring more of us on stage."
Don Carlos' legendary stage presence and amazing performance magnetized the mass. He blew signs of peace to the audience as he performed crowd favorites like "Can't Stop The Rain", "Sattamasagana", "Laser Beam", and "Young Girl". King Yellowman was crowned again as he electrified the crowd with his high stepping dance moves. The crowd moved as if they were one as he performed tunes like "Carolina", "Don't Worry", "Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt", a rendition of Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam", and "My Name is Yellow," which he dedicated to the ladies. He later told fans he wouldn't leave the stage til they got their satisfaction and went into a tune called "Satisfied".
Junior Reid like Ky-mani Marley took to the stage and caused a frenzy. Reid performed crowd favorites like "Prison War", "What Am I Longing For", "Rasta Government", and hit remix "No One" featuring Alicia Keys. Audience members anxiously awaited "One Blood" and went wickedly crazy as the hit single's intro dropped.
And when the Marley son came along, it was blazin high energy on stage. Ripping it up as usual, he asked the crowd for a moment of silence in honor of the recent passing of his grandmother Cedella Booker Marley. Full of energy, Ky-mani performed songs like "One Time," "The March", and "Hustler" and closed out the show in proper "Marley Fashion".