Cool vibes and good music are essential features of any great music show, and the annual Digicel Reggae On The Hill appeared to have delivered these in spades.
From early last Sunday, patrons began their trek to the Farley Hill National Park armed with coolers, baskets, blankets and chairs for the much-anticipated show.
In the early afternoon, local artistes Riteside A Red, Kalead, King Slimz, Triple X, Tabitha, EZB, and Supastar delivered several selections, which were well received by the growing crowd, setting the stage for the visiting performers.
First to appear was reggae fusion star Maxi Priest with his feel-good grooves, singing hits such as Some Guys Have All The Luck, Just A Little Bit Longer, Best of Me and Wild World which was a big hit with the ladies. He then took it up a notch when guest artiste New Kidz joined him on stage and they delivered False Pretender and several other duets which had the crowd rocking and singing.
“Oh my gosh we had a ball as normal. We had fun. It is always an honour and a pleasure to come to Reggae On The Hill,”Maxi Priest said following his set.
After their performance, technical difficulties with a mixing board seemed ready to put a damper on things, but local DJs did their valiant best to keep the mood going for the swelling crowd.
One patron by the name of Richie remarked: “I don’t understand this, they [are] supposed to have extra equipment on location to change for problems like this, but it’s going irie man;” while a female patron who did not give her name said “these things happen, I am having a blast”.
Roger Freddy Hill, one the directors of FAS Entertainment told Bajan Vibes: “It was one of the boards. [It went] out and they had to get another and fix it but they did the job in time and thanks to the Barbados Police Force, they gave us some extra time to play with”.
It would take the technicians almost two hours to rectify the problem, paving the way for Tarrus Riley to take command of the stage and give patrons a stellar performance with hits like We Got It Going On, Love Contagious, Getty Getty No Wantee. At one point, he was joined by Barbados Labour Party Leader Mia Mottley as he sang She’s Royal but it was Don’t Come Back that further whipped the crowd into a reggae frenzy.
“I like to perform. I like to sing for people, I really love it. The delay was just nice because [it’s] a long time I [haven’t] come to Barbados, so I got more time to hang out with my friends. Sometimes the delay is just to get the things right,” Riley said.
Amid a few drizzles, the lady’s man Jah Cure was up next, belting out You’ll Never Find, That Girl, From The Heart and Unconditional Love, followed by Everton Blender with Ghetto People Song and Lift Up Your Head.
By 10:30 p.m., it was obvious that the artistes had limited time to perform when Queen Ifrica swept on to the stage beautifully clad in a black dress, signing Keep It To Yourself and Lioness Is On The Rise.
“It was awesome. I love this island,” she told Bajan Vibes side stage, as some patrons made their way out of the venue.
However, a large crowd remained to hear the headliner Anthony B who came on just around 11 p.m. and gave his fans many songs in his allotted 25 minutes. And he did not disappoint with tunes like Damage Already Done, I Understand, Hurt The Heart and Storm Winds.
“I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy,” Anthony B told Bajan Vibes as he thanked fans for their “patience and the understanding” and to look out for his new song Reggae Soul Sistah.
At the end of it all, Freddy Hill said he was very satisfied with how the four-day reggae festival came off.
“The entire reggae festival was prosperous, it came off well we did four events. We had a little glitch today (Sunday) with the sound and everything, but nothing runs smooth you know. We had a peaceful [and] incident free festival… and hope to do it better next year,” he told Bajan Vibes.