Day 4 of Reggae On the River began with a crisp sunshine morning, a blanket around my shoulders and a hot cup of coffee in my hands. With so much stimulation from a variety of great artists, delectable food, and a whole festival of amazing new people to meet, we found ourselves tired, and in a “mellow mood.” Still, with lots to document and even more to take in, we headed down to the festival bowl fortifying ourselves with good food and lots of water on the way. Everything seemed to be winding down now and the mood at the bowl was as mellow as ours.

Sunday’s lineup was not to be missed. Addis Pablo is the son of Augustus Pablo,  a hugely influential musician in the early days of Dancehall and Dub. Augustus showcased the melodica in his music, bringing the instrument into popular use in the production of Dub Style Reggae. May he rest in peace, Augustus died in 1999, leaving his son to carry the torch, (or should I say the melodica), and that he has! Addis plays the melodica as well as his father did, and it plays a large part in his act and in his music in general. Frankly, when he began to play in the press room, for a moment I thought, “Is that, Augustus Pablo?” Of course, I knew it could not be. A formidable musician and composer, Addis drew a large crowd very quickly! He paid homage to his father while showcasing his own music, and made a fan out of me immediately.

Throughout the weekend we were treated to some of ROTR’s legendary artists bringing their talented children to the stage, performing with them side-by-side. Sunday was no exception. Sister Carol, Legendary Reggae Pioneer, dubbed by her peers as “The Black Cinderella,” or “Mother Culture,” began her performance with grit and conviction, greeting the crowd wearing a white maxi dress, hand-picked from her new clothing line, and crowning it with one fabulous silver and white headdress! Her set was stellar, no surprise there, and the crowd was invested 100 percent. The crowd was also entranced with her daughter, Reggae fusion artist Nakeeba Amaniyea, who joined Sister Carol on stage. Together they shone, blending the new and up-and-coming, with the best of Sister Carol’s catalogue of classic songs. As the artist passed the proverbial torch to Nakeeba, with obvious pride for her music and achievements, both beamed from the stage and infected us all with the love and mutual appreciation evident in their relationship and the powerful musical talent that exudes from them both. I have known her music for many years and it was truly an honor to see her live again, with her formidable daughter by her side, and up close and personal in the press room.

Surprising me earlier in the day, as I did not realize he was in the lineup for 2016, was Rocker T. He lives a holistic and clean lifestyle and is devoted to spreading love and peace to all races wherever he goes. Having a true sense of what prejudice can really mean, as he had to fight for his own beliefs and his place in the culture with which he identifies early on, he is now an established and well-known member of the Reggae community. What follows is a candid and passionate interview from the pressroom, and below that a sample of his fascinating ability to freestyle at any given moment.

Igniters, it is hard to conclude this article! I experienced so many wonderful artists, audience members, vendors and feelings at the 32nd annual Reggae On the River that it would take a veritable novella to cover everything! We will be attending again next year and I strongly recommend this festival to every Reggae fan on the planet! It is a well organized, and a uniquely beautiful event, with all races coming together to celebrate love, and harmony and to promote peace throughout our world. Join us in 2017 as Lauren and I experience ROTR together!

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