By Dr. Mary
(Photo Credit Maysphotovideo)
Getting together and feeling alright was just what attendees did on Saturday, April 20 at Kaya Fest.
Just approaching Bayfront Park in downtown Miami set the stage for the day. The sun was scorching hot, there were fluffy white clouds in the blue sky, sounds of reggae music blaring out into the streets, the smell of kaya in the air, and a sense of exotic festivity in the atmosphere.
Kaya Fest, a Music and Awareness Festival which honors Bob Marley’s legacy: his sons Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, Ky-Mani Marley and Julian Marley, all participate in this historic event.
Usually scheduled around April 20 ,which is Stephen Marley’s birthday, is a day dually celebrated. Adding extra excitement to the event, the Marleys shared the stage with an astounding roster of Reggae, Soca, Latin, and American artist. This year’s line-up included: Koffee, Third World, Kes the Band, Protoje, Sean Paul & Chi Ching Ching, Davido, Busta Rhymes, Farruko and Pitbull.
Newly added this year, ‘Constance Bubble’ led by Stephen Marley’s daughter Shacia Pain, a DJ, offered a second stage. This stage included several female DJ’s one of whom was our very own She-J Hercules from 99 JAMZ. The sounds of Constance Bubble offersed an authentic dancehall experience with the flair of LA.” Located at the back of the park, dancers took center stage, showing their smooth dancehall moves enjoying themselves, oblivious to onlookers.
The “Education before Recreation” resounded throughout the day exposing attendees to the multi-purpose of the cannabis plant from medical marijuana to industrial hemp and the legalities. There were individuals who petitioned passersby to sign their petition for legalizing marijuana in Florida.
The food and clothing vendors were in no short supply. Ben and Jerry’s gave free ice cream samples highlighting Bob Marley ‘One Love’ flavor.
For a big event of this size, the show appeared to stay on time throughout the day.
The Marley brothers took center stage about 9:15pm starting with Natural Mystic, one of their father’s songs. They had their signature Lion of Juda flag flown by someone on the stage. Big screen in the background showing various shots and images added an exhilarating flair. With a full band, three background vocalist who were dressed in white pants suits had great stage presence. Each of the brothers was working the stage singing a line or a verse of each song; it was epic! Beverly conveyed “I couldn’t get enough of the reggae music.”
However, Marvin shared “the Marleys to me didn’t perform how they normally do. There weren’t any sets, but I enjoyed myself.”
The show is coming back from taking a break last year from Miami and all 15 to 20 thousand audience members appeared to have been eagerly awaiting this year’s event. Lisa shared “this year Kaya Fest compared to 2017 was even more spectacular. It was a little cool with the sudden weather change but when “the music hit me I felt no pain” taking a play off of Bob Marley’s Trench Town Rock song. The brothers ended their set with One Love but came back up later with Pitbull. Elisha stated, “I liked the Marley’s set, Farruko was a nice addition.”