With a backdrop of over 36,000 fun seeking reggae fans; big screen re-runs of the Beijing Olympics’ top Caribbean runs and a stellar line-up that included, Sizzla, Tarrus Riley, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Coco Tea, Mavado and Admiral Bailey, Irie Jamboree doubled as a celebration of the Caribbean Olympic experience. Roy Wilkins Park was jammed on August 31, with patrons hailing from all corners like: Japan, Dominica and England, just to attend.
A tent allotted for media was officially opened in Honor of Usain ‘Lightening’ Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown; with Aleen Bailey, Chelsea Hammond and Bert Cameron on hand to represent the athletes.
While all headliners had their fans in a state of uproar, it was Coco Tea who acquired the label of top performer of the day. His ‘sweet sweet’ sound reeked havoc as he gave hit after hit from a catalogue brimming with number one tracks. “Rocking Dolly,” “Riker’s Island,” “I lost My Sonia,” “Good Life” and other songs such as the new tune dedicated to Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama captivated the crowd, earning him tumultuous applause from young and old alike.
There was complete frenzy amongst audience members when the Doctor energized the stage; and they became completely immersed in every word he said. Decked out in USA an Jamaican flag colors, Elephant Man demonstrated why he is called the ‘Energy God” as he showed off his agility with an impressive charm. Gliding through, tracks like "Gully Greppa" and "Signal The Plane," Ele stirred everyone up with the popular "Nuh Linga" that was dedicated to Olympic Superstar Usain 'Lighting" Bolt.
Keeping the good vibes flowing is what Sizzla’s entrance and execution highlighted that evening. His “Black Woman and Child,” “Taking Over” and “Rise to the Occasion” was met with shouts of joy. Yellowman also proved he will always have full command of the stage, as the crowd lit up at his delivery of classic hits like: “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” “Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt,” “Zungu Zungu Zeng” and “Mad Over Me.”
Tarrus Riley was another ace in the place as he engaged the crowd with his rendition of John Legend’s “Stay With You” and other hits like ‘She’s Royal,” that absolutely brought everyone to their feet.
Mavado, who entered the stage around 9pm returned from a one year absence and was highly anticipated by ‘stateside’ fans. Flags waved and greeted Mavado as he made his way on stage; and immediately he launched into his catalogue of hits that included, “Gully Side,” “Ganster for Life” and “On the Go (Faster Than Bullet).” Hardcore fans were in awe as Mavado thrilled them all. Some were heard expressing their displeasure at the, “bag a long talk,” included in his set; and thought that Mavado ought to tidy up his stage presence in that regard.
Impressive performances were also delivered by Hero, who charmed the crowd with "The Prayer." Konshens, was on point, RDX, DeMarco, Noddy Virtue, Dwayne Stephens and Soca Queen Alison Alison all left fans begging for more. Canadian Reggae singer Tanya Mullings charmed her new fans with her talent and suave and based on her performance at Jamboree, was able to secure at least two upcoming gigs. New York based reggae singer Elvis D had fans rocking and grooving with his big hit Party Time that has been burning up the airwaves all summer. Ragga Lox, Benny Bwoy and Empire Isis all had their moments in the spotlight.
Other celebrity guests in attendance were cricketer Courtney Walsh, Miss Jamaica/USA 2008; Val Cuffe and Sobers Esprit, executives of the Dominica Festival Commission who travelled all the way from Dominica to attend the event.
Organisers, who plan for a bigger Irie Jamboree 2009 have sent heartfelt thanks to Richie B from Hot 102 FM in Jamaica, Robba Ranx from BBC 1 Xtra from out of London, England; Mikey B from WAVZ 1170 AM Florida, Marlon Davis from Digicel, Carrie Mullings, Sir B, Richard Banton all from CHRY, 105.5FM in Toronto and the many, many others.