Morning breaks on Saturday at “The River” to the sound of Bayonics. What could be better? This 8-piece San Francisco native band are a perfect start to the day. Beautifully coalescing Latin, Reggae and funk, they move the crowd, and get the crowd moving, with their passionate commitment to the music and their community. They are: Jairo “Rojai” Vargas, Lead Vocals; Shamilah Ivory, Backup Vocals; Pedro Gomez, Drums; Eric “Golden Boy” Mendez, Percussion; Ryan “Shreddy” Riley, Guitar; Bill “HagerBomb” Hager, Bass. Roger Cox, Saxophone; Mario Silva, Trumpet; and Immanuel Junaedy, Keyboards. Look for them all over the country, but if you are in the Bay Area you will not have a difficult time finding a place to hear them live! The Ignited Team was there for their press room appearance.

Our next notable act? The implausible and fantastic Fatoumata Diawara! Inspired by Wassoulou tradition, blues and jazz and self-taught, (formidably so I might add), on guitar, this woman literally lit up the stage with her smile and fired up the crowd’s sensibilities with her commitment to her politics and her genuine out pouring of love for all human beings. In the press room she was humble, convicted, open and sweet. I was lucky enough to hold her hand and get my jacket signed by her. Her Music and her unfailing sincerity had a profound effect on all that were present.

Ziggi Recado took the stage next with a vibrant and well-received performance. A native of the Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius, Ziggi’s career blew up after moving to The Netherlands at age 19 where his 2008, first offering “So Much Reasons” took the Reggae world by storm winning music awards there in the categories of Best Live Act, Best Album, and Best Artist.

Hold up, hold up, hold up! Who is this we see heading to the stage? Jumping, spinning, and literally performing push-ups on the stage? Oh yeah! It’s King Yellowman, people! The legendary Dancehall and Smash bounds onto the stage with a fervor and passion that one is hard pressed to experience elsewhere. Joining him this night? His beloved daughter K’reema. Together they lit the stage and took no prisoners for a 90-minute set that drew the whole crowd! It was an honor to be in the press room with the man and I was further honored by a hug, a kiss and an “I love you” from the man himself! For us, he was the highlight of Saturday night’s offerings.

Other than stellar performances, a busy and thronging crowd, and vendors galore, there were many sights to see on day three. Giant Rastafarian puppets, Ethiopian flag colored popsicles, an active kids place, countless clothing and food vendors: from Ital to Indian, and vegan to carnivorous it was all delectable! Backstage was adorned with beautiful tapestries and decorations with an ambassador room to view the performances on large monitors from comfortable leather sofas draped with sheepskins. The full-service Ital Kitchen and bar was popular with performers and gave all backstage peeps a chance to say hello and sip a cool drink with them. Mateel Community Center sure know how to take care of their Artists and Media personnel. A special thanks goes out to Kaati, whose support of our press attendance was outstanding, we can’t wait for next year and would highly recommend the festival to Reggae fans worldwide!!!

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