The Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival came to a grand climax Sunday night at the historic Farley Hill National Park with the highly anticipated Reggae on the Hill. And patrons would agree the show was worthy of two thumbs up.
Organizers were expecting just over 20,000 people at the final show, which continues to be the most popular of the events that this year included Reggae on the Beach, Vintage Reggae and the recently added Reggae Party Cruise. Based on the crowds – and in the absence of an official count – they appeared to have met their goal.
Despite a few hiccups, the show was “lit”, as the younger generation would say, and FAS Promotions must be commended for bringing a perfect blend of artistes that provided something for everyone.
However, Popcaan was the man they trekked to St Peter to see. When the ‘Unruly Boss’ was announced, the crowd went wild, and screams erupted from all corners of the hill for about two minutes before he actually appeared on stage to start his performance.
Popcaan sang hit after hit after hit, and the crowd sang right along with him.
Included in his set were Nah Idle, Addicted, Fall In Love, Where We Come From, Everything Nice and Unruly Prayer.
As usual, the Jamaican artiste expressed his love for Barbados and his countless fans who always made him feel right at home. His hour-long act was truly hype from start to finish and after his exit, the crowd was begging for more. Due to time constraints and with two more artistes to follow, however, he did not return.
It was two stalwarts in the reggae industry who came next – Cocoa Tea and the Capleton.
Cocoa Tea sang hits like Hurry Up and Come, She Loves Me Now and Rastaman.
Decked in a red suit, the ‘Fyah Man’ Capleton brought the show to a close with a set that included songs like That Day Will Come, Jah Jah City, Fire and Some Day.
They were both a joy to watch on stage and the crowd loved them.
Earlier in the evening, Bugle and Spragga Benz also lit up the stage and had the hill jamming and singing along.
Jahmiel was also well received, especially with his hit song Do You Remember Me.
The earlier performers, The BCC Ensemble, Triple X, Amber Orano, Super Frost, Buggy Nhakente and the Fully Loaded Band and Sanchez did an excellent job in setting the pace, adding to the overall success of the show.
One of FAS Promotions’ directors Freddie Hill told Barbados TODAY he was pleased with how Sunday’s show went, coming after Reggae on the Beach which had low attendance even though “the performances were great”, and Vintage Reggae which had a good turnout but suffered some technical difficulties.
“But at least we produced, and we thank the Almighty for a day like today,” he said on Sunday. “Reggae on the Hill has been a blast. All the performers have performed magnificently and we have to say thanks to the patrons for coming out and supporting FAS throughout the years.”
Hill said the aim was to continuously improve the show. He promised patrons something “bigger and better” in years to come.
Event producer Adisa Aja Andwele, who was in charge of logistics, said he was satisfied with the improvements in that area, as well as security.
“I would say everything is going smoothly from that perspective . . . . Each year I see things that we are doing that can make the show more enjoyable and easy to access so that when patrons come it [isn’t] any issue,” he said during the show.
Andwele said he enjoyed the acts but it was The BCC Ensemble that stood out most for him, describing that performance as “excellent”.
Promoter Chetwyn Stewart also gave the event thumbs up, saying the interest in the show remained strong.
“You need events at a certain level like this. So I have to take my hat off to FAS for producing this. I think we need more events like this,” he said.
Performers Spragga Benz and Buggy Nhakente also gave the show a passing grade, saying they were pleased with the crowd reception.
However, Spragga Benz, whose real name is Carlton Grant, said his performance could have been better had he not encountered some technical hiccups with the sound engineer.
“It was still a good vibe out there, but if [I didn’t have to be talking] so much to him, I could have paid more attention to the audience,” he said.
Fellow Jamaican singer Mad Dawg said he liked the show, describing it as “the biggest reggae festival in the Caribbean”.
Please see Wednesday’s edition of Bajan Vibes for a full review of the Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival.