The cancellation of the Charlemont Reggae Festival for the past two years has been a blow to fans. The local reggae festival, which has been in existence for over 30 years, brings together reggae fans to dance, sing and soak up all the positive vibes that characterize this genre of popular music that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s.
Hawks and Reed manager Ben Goldsher hopes to capture the spirit of the Charlemont Reggae Festival when the entertainment venue hosts the Reggae Party on Saturday, September 18th. Hawks and Reed took over the operation of the Charlemont Reggae Festival in 2019 and his first year at the helm was a success. But then COVID-19 arrived and put the festival on hiatus. The good news is that the Charlemont Reggae Festival will be back in 2022.
“Due to COVID-19, we weren’t able to host the Charlemont Reggae Festival this year, but we wanted to do something to celebrate it and continue the Charlemont vibe, even though we’re not going to be in Charlemont. Goldsher said. “We wanted to put on a show that said ‘don’t worry, we’re having the festival next year, and here’s a little something we can do in the meantime. “”
The lack of live music has made it difficult for reggae fans who love to dance to the powerful beats and inspiring lyrics of the music. The Reggae Party will feature all the local artists and is the perfect way to bring back some of those good vibes that people have been missing out on.
The Reggae Party is a two-part event that will begin with an afternoon celebration that will take place outside Court Square in Greenfield at 2pm and continue until 6.30pm. DJ I-ganic, who will spin roots, dub, dancehall music and more. This part of the party is free and open to everyone in the community.
At 6.30 p.m. the party moves inside and it’s a paid event. Music will begin at 7 p.m. and music will be provided by ReBelle, Simon White and The Equalites.
The lineup is well known to reggae fans as they are all Charlemont Reggae Festival alumni, and these musicians are sure to get the crowd dancing.
Rebelle is an intergenerational and intercultural family group from Africa and America. The group is led by Kalpana Devi and Emmanuel Manou. The couple started making music together in 1994 and playing roots reggae music that resonates with listeners and fills them with a positive message of light and love. ReBelle has toured nationally and internationally and graced numerous stages throughout the valley. The group’s latest release is the EP “One Music”.
Simon White, of Rhythm Inc., performs uplifting music rooted in reggae, funk and hip-hop. For this show, the guitarist / singer will be joined by Boo Pearson on backing vocals and percussion, Burnie T on drums, Chris Ball on bass and Brian DiMartio on guitar. White is preparing to release a new solo EP “Dedication” this fall. He has a new single called “Summer Mood” which you can hear on all major music platforms. In 2020, shortly after the success of COVID, he released the song “Marijuana” which was produced by Grammy-winning producer Anju Blaxx of Kingston, Jamaica.
And it wouldn’t be a reggae night without the Equalities. This longtime band led by guitarist and vocalist David Boatright is a highly regarded group on the valley music scene. The Equalites were formed in 1987 and play reggae along with its musical predecessors: ska and rocksteady. The group is also known for adding dub, rock and R&B to their shows.
It should be a great music day and night. Hawks and Reed has always been a welcoming hotbed for reggae music, featuring shows not only from local reggae artists, but also from some of the biggest names in the genre, including the late Lee “Scratch” Perry, who passed away in August. According to Goldsher, as they continue to move forward with a reopening, the venue remains committed to bringing the best in reggae music to the Valley. Hawks and Reed just announced Yellowman’s return to the stage on October 5th. The Jamaican reggae and dancehall DJ performed at Hawks and Reed in 2017.
COVID policy for the reggae party: Masks are strongly encouraged for the outdoor part of the event. Proof of vaccination is required and masks should be worn when not eating / drinking indoors.
Tickets are $ 10 in advance and $ 15 at the door. You can purchase an early bird ticket for $ 40 which will give you access to the Reggae Party and the Charlemont Reggae Festival 2022. Tickets available at www.hawksandreed.com
The Watermelon Wednesdays series has a few more shows before it wraps up the 2021 concert season and one of those shows you won’t want to miss is Darol Anger and Mr. Sun which will be performing at the West Whately Chapel on Wednesday September 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Violinist Darol Anger has played a key role in the evolution of the string orchestra through his work in groups such as the David Grisman Quartet, Republic of Strings, Turtle Island String Quartet and others. A brilliant player who has worked with everyone from Tony Rice to Vassar Clements, Mr. Sun finds him teaming up with an equally accomplished group of musicians that includes guitarist Grant Gordy, mandolinist Joe K. Walsh and bassist Aidan O ‘Donnell.
The four musicians are virtuosos of their instruments and have a vast and varied musical experience. Together, they draw on their diverse backgrounds in jazz, bluegrass, new grass and classical to create a unique sound of their own. This is a show you can’t miss, so go fast while you have tickets left.
If you are not comfortable going there, the Watermelon Wednesdays shows have been broadcast on Facebook and YouTube.
For directions, COVID protocols and to purchase tickets. Visit www.watermelonwednesdays.com
You can also see Darol Anger and Mr. Sun at Fresh Grass at the Mass MoCA in North Adams on Sunday, September 26.
Sheryl Hunter is a musical composer who lives in Easthampton. His work has been published in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.