Reggae Rise Up SLC 2014
Photos © Melanie Stratton
Article by Alyssa Corbeil
Nestled in the middle of Salt Lake City’s historical Liberty Park is where Reggae Rise Up’s 2 day festival has found its home for over the past 5 years. But this year was different, with numbers of festival goers almost tripling in size toppling over 17,000 lending a sense of great truth to its namesake…Reggae Rise Up indeed.
When one thinks of Salt Lake City Utah, Reggae music is not the first thing that comes to mind…or the second or the third….but I think it necessary to elaborate just a bit on the subculture of this city, which is made up of an assortment of neo-hippies, naturalists, punk rockers and outdoorsy laid back folk…lovers of great times and good music…reggae lovers.
The first night of the festival brought about an entirely different energy than the second night, yet both ample in good vibes and in great music. Hirie was singing on stage when we arrived, her sweet Hawaiian voice carrying through the air before we even walked through the gates. Temperatures flirted with the dry 100 degree mark and everyone onstage and off were glistening with sweat in the midday heat, but it seemed to bother no one as Hirie had already attracted a very large, very happy crowd with her melodic island sounds. We caught up with the petite yet larger than life Hirie and her keyboardist backstage and asked her what message she wanted to share most through her music and she told us to “be true to you…and to never give up!”
Into the evening we enjoyed rock and jazz emanating through the tried and True Island sounds of bands such as The Expendables, who also incorporate a nice undertone of heavy metal into their compilations, giving them a truly unique sound that was adored by all.
The main event on the first night was Matisyahu who put on a performance under a full super moon, that stirred great emotion in me and made me feel truly blessed to be there before him watching his magic fill up the packed park. He sang a mixture of well-known past hits mixed with some of his new stuff, all some of the most beautiful, positive, uplifting and hypnotizing music I have ever had the pleasure of hearing live. He started the night off on the stage in layers comprised of a hat and jean jacket, full sleeved shirt and by the end of the night he had peeled off all of his layers, until it was just him standing before us in a tank top and at the height of that performance he dove into the crowd who received him with joy and gratitude. Matis ended the night with his hit “One Day” , sending out such a needed message in our world at this time with all that surrounds our brothers and sisters in Israel and beyond.
The second day of the festival was jam packed, vendors booths consistently full and even more of the good vibes being spread around.
Stephen Marley “Raggamuffin” put on a great show as usual…and gave us quite a treat by sharing half of the set with his son Jo Mersa Marley whose lyrics and vibe swept over us like a fresh exciting rain in the sun. All the while, they waive the Rasta flag onstage. After his set, Down-to-Earth Stephen and his crew casually walked around the festival talking to people and checking out the merchandise that the vendors had to offer.
The crowd thickened after the sun went behind the mountains to welcome Slightly Stoopid onto the stage. They rocked the rest of the night away and even came back on stage to offer up quite an encore. Everyone in the crowd was lighting up and paying tribute positivity abound as great music once again brings people from every walk of life together to celebrate life…. in the middle of Salt Lake city might I again mention…Rise Up Reggae indeed, Rise Up!
RRU is expanding to Tampa Florida. Tickets are now on sale! Get yours here – http://bit.ly/reggaeriseup to see Rebelution, Collie Buddz, Zion I Crew, BALLYHOO!, Rootz Underground, Los Rakas and more on September 27th at Raymond James Stadium
We apologize that we were not able to get images of all of the artist performances at this event, but we hope you enjoy the below slideshow courtesy © Melanie Stratton