It’s more than just the music, it’s the experience. That is what, patrons revealed, keeps them coming back, as they celebrated 25 years of the annual reggae music festival at Grizzlys Plantation Cove in St Ann over the weekend.
It was two days of music, of course, but it was also two days of togetherness and the best of Jamaica’s culture on display, including food and dance and, yes, marijuana. The latter was courtesy of the much talked-about ‘herb curb’ and is one of the many attractions the festival offers. Though relatively new to the festival, the addition is a welcomed one by patrons who told The Gleaner that each year, Rebel Salute just keeps getting better.
Sacia Thompson, one of the loyal patrons who has been following the show since it’s days in St Elizabeth, says ever since she and her friends decided to try the show one year, she has been hooked and has been to almost all of the event’s 25 stagings.
“I’ve been to countless. I remember the first time my girlfriends and I decided to take the journey; what really drew us was the fact that it was a conscious show. We appreciated everything that it was about and what it stood for and that’s what keeps us coming back each year, and the fact that it keeps getting better,” she said.
“I appreciate when they brought in the herb curb. I don’t smoke, but I love what it stands for. I realise that they have tried to reduce the amount of time spent on band changes, and that shows that they listen to the people and try to improve on things that will make the experience better,” she added.
Another female ,who identified herself only as Janet, also shared what keeps her coming back to Rebel Salute. She has also been following the show since it’s days in St Elizabeth.
“I’m a great lover of music, it’s everything to me and you get music in abundance at Rebel Salute. I have so many memories that has stood out over the years, because the show never disappoints in terms of who performs. Jimmy Cliff performed one year I was here and that was good for me. Lady Saw’s appearance last year was also a good moment, and Queen Ifrica always delivers a good set,” she said.
“Rebel Salute has substance and that’s why it has lasted so long and will continue to grow. When I tell people I’m going, some say, ‘why yah spend so much money go one show’? But they don’t understand that it’s more than just a stage show.”
Matanah, who has been travelling to Jamaica from the UK for a number of years for Rebel Salute, also shared why.
“I value the organisation of it. The promoters take a lot of time organising everything for the people and they improve each year. The security has got better, the seating arrangements, parking and the set-up. I mean, they have screens now that brings people from across the venue closer to the stage, and when a show cares enough to keep improving for its patrons, it really is something special,” she expressed. “There’s no alcohol and I appreciate that and as a vegan, I love that I can come and get something to eat. It is a multicultural event that is about the entire experience. It’s everything and the music that keeps the show going.”