Photo: Jamaica Observer

Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, JA – Birthing pains marred the start to the virtual edition of renowned local music festival Reggae Sunsplash.

Friday’s opening to the two-night festival was hampered by technical difficulties which affected the vibe and flow of the festival which is being brought back to the local entertainment landscape following a 14-year haiatus. Scheduled to kick-off at 5:30 pm, the show never got going until after seven o’clock, and what would ensue for the next three hours was not the smooth-running event many had anticipated.

With four acts on the bill, viewers who watched on the festival’s YouTube page were left hanging after each performance, not knowing when the next act would take to the stage. Each time the wait was in the region of 15 minutes. Unlike during a physical festival, when during band changes patrons use the opportunity to walk the venue, this was not an option during the virtual staging.

The organisers of the event spoke to the technical hiccups in a statement on social media, and some of the finer points of night one of the festival.

“We experienced unforeseen challenges internally that caused a delay in the airing of the show. We are grateful for the calls and messages of support, patience and understanding as we worked to resolve the issue. We have received tremendous feedback from the performances and overall production of the show. The festival trended up to #2 on Twitter. We have viewers from the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Australia, Sweden and several parts of Africa,” read the post on the festival’s Instagram page.

What the technicals lacked, the performances more that made up. The acts showed no signs of ring rust given the shutdown of the entertainment events since March of this year. All four gave creditable accounts of themselves on the stage.

In his post-performance interview, opening act Ras I referred to one of his songs as a “slow cooker” and that best described his set, along with his band The Revelation, the dreadlocked singer took some time to warm up to his audience, many of whom were hearing of his for the first time and therefore unfamiliar with his music.

The young act offered an eclectic blend of music, from the more militant tone of roots reggae to a hybrid of dub and lover’s rock. Tracks such as Days and Months and King Man Ting made an impact.
Photo: Jamaica Observer

He passed on the baton to the night’s sole female act, Tanya Stephens.

Her 30-minute set was characteristically Tanya Stephens.

Drawing from her impressive catalogue, she delivered her tracks which tended to centre around love… new love, love lost, making love and finding love.

Stephens’s tracklist for the night included These Streets, What’s Your Story, Can’t Breathe, After You, Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet, Good Ride, Bum Wuk, and It’s a Pity.

After a 40-minute wait Richie Spice was on stage.

This conscious reggae chanter brought his vibe and essence to the stage, dropping tracks from his hit list.

Ghetto Girl, Grooving My Girl, Brown Skin, Together We stand, Universal, Streets Getting Hot and Di Plan Land were among the works he served for his audience, which peaked at just over 1600 during his 20 minutes on stage.

It was, therefore, left to Capleton to blaze the stage and burn the curtains for the opening night, and this he did.

From the opening note he scorched fans with his infectious stage aura, sending fire emojis darting across the chat on YouTube. Music such as Bun a Fire and Small World set the tone of the performance and made his audience aware that he was there to ‘bun it dung’.

It wouldn’t be a Capleton performance if he did “dash a fire” on some of the world’s problems.

Sexism, racism, exploitation, Sars, AIDS, Anthrax, incest, rapists, paedophiles, immorality, Chick V, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and, of course, COVID-19 all felt the heat from the fire man from St Mary.

The festival was set to conclude yesterday with performances from Masicka, Jesse Royal, Agent Sasco, Dexta Daps, and Romain Virgo.