Kentucky Reggae Festival

By Jean-Marie Ebel

The Memorial Day Weekend found the banks of the Ohio River filled with swaying rhythms and hot beats. The Kentucky Reggae Festival brought about this transformation on May 30 and 31 at the Water Tower. This marked the second year for the two-day extravaganza and featured Earth Force, Soul Rebels and Samiyra and the Roots Man Band on Sunday. Local favorites Dem Reggae Bon and Identity wrapped things up the following day.

Festival organizer Larry Bisig, of Bisig Communications, offered not just music to those who attended, but provided a sensuous reggae mood. The unseasonably cold weather and the constant threat of rain had scared some away. However, those who braved the elements were rewarded with a feast of Caribbean culture.

A walk through the Caribbean Flea Market yielded a eclectic mix of jewelry, crafts and colorful clothing. The Jamaican Association of Louisville and Cafe Kilimanjaro served up spicy ethnic dishes that helped to chase away the chill.

The music began in the early afternoon as Dem Reggae Bon took the stage and continued into the night with Identity. Few could resist the powerful reggae beat with its hypnotic rhythm, and gently swayed to the sounds, while others engaged in a more lively form of expression in front of the stage. Others chose to relax and enjoy the music while reclining on blankets.

It is hoped that the Kentucky Reggae Festival is part of a long tradition for reggae lovers as it showed that reggae is not limited to music but is a blend of life, faith and expression.

For a time, a hint of Jamaica was to be found on the Ohio River.