Summer Solstice Heats Up at the 24th Edition of SNWMF
Summary by Hal Wendlinger
Photos by Lee Abel
The 24th edition of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival occurred this June 16-18th at it’s recurring home in Boonville, California. For this one weekend a year, this normally quiet town lives up to it’s affectionately given nickname of “Boomville.” The festival normally occurs in conjunction with the Summer Solstice, usually making for perfect weather throughout the weekend, however this year’s concert featured temperatures commonly found on the surface of the sun.
Friday morning for most patrons was spent setting up their camp, so when the music began playing around 5 in the afternoon, waves of people ventured into the bowl surrounding the main stage which is referred to as the “Valley Stage.” With the sun finally dropping below the mountains, Jamaican star Chronixx came to the stage, following Mellow Mood, and meticulously worked his way through a set filled with a great variety of his older music along with many of his newer cuts.
The crowd, feeding off of the energy created by Anthony B’s set, waited in anticipation for the next artist to come to the stage.
Often times at music festivals with lineups as impressive as this years SNWMF, there comes a time when the difficult decision on which artist to watch has to be made. Starting within 30 minutes of each other on opposite stage was the dancehall legend Capleton and the legendary rocksteady duo of Keith & Tex. “The Fireman” tore through numerous hit singles as well as some of his lesser known tunes. For those who have been fortunate enough to witness Capleton perform, it is evident how he has maintained a stranglehold as one of the top artists in the industry for 30 years running.
Much of my Sunday was spent avoiding the heat at all costs, unfortunately missing several artists I was looking forward to seeing such as Gappy Ranks and Third World. As darkness filled the sky, the area in front of the main stage became the gathering spot to see the one and only Barrington Levy make his return to SNWMF. Levy treated the audience to an entire catalog of his greatest hits, even debuting new cuts from his upcoming projects. As the stage lights turned on, those who had energy left to dance made their way to the dancehall to partake in the ‘Silent Dance,’ something you’d have to see to believe. Upon entering the dancehall, a pair of wireless headphones is handed to each person with different station options. It was an interesting sight to see the different dancing that each person was doing, especially not knowing exactly what they were listening to.