Half-hearted Salute

Observer writer

Monday, January 21, 2019

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The closing night of Rebel Salute left some patrons feeling ambivalent as the show decreased in its thrill and intensity with the break of dawn.

Its 26th staging came to an end minutes after 9:00 am Sunday. As patrons left Grizzly Plantation Cove in St Ann, they had mixed feelings.

“It was completely drawn out,” said Natoya Hasley. “We did not like how it ended because Jah Cure had to just walk off the stage. We're not pleased overall, it was good in the earlier part but poor organisation.”

Her sentiments were echoed by other patrons. Andrew Lynch said he appreciated the show more when it was held at Port Kaiser, St Elizabeth.

“I understand why they moved it to the north coast,” he said. “But the vibe was different (in Port Kaiser) I think it was a more authentic vibe back then.”

Others had nothing but praise.

“The highlight for me was the performances,” said Jacquelyn Greenland. “Jesse Royal's performance was very professional, Agent Sasco very professional, I also liked the African performers. This is my fourth year and I liked the playing between the band changes.”

Fans were treated to scintillating and energised roots-reggae, dancehall and Afro Beat. Some relaxed in 'reggae chairs' and waved Rastafarian flags.

Ken Boothe, Yellow Man and Half Pint gave strong performances that readied the crowd for more intense acts. Jesse Royal had the crowd singing along to Modern Day Judas, Finally, Rock it Tonight and Black Woman.

Queen Ifrica, who said she has been coming to Rebel Salute before she could afford a ticket, delivered a strong and satisfying performance. She belted out Lioness On The Rise, Below The Waist and her new single One Hold. She also used her time on stage to address issues such as crime, homosexuality and poverty before doing Keep It To Yourself and A Nuh We Dis. The audience was delighted with her.

“Mi rate her message. What she said, a lot of people 'fraid fi seh nowadays. She was very accurate with her words, she never sugar-coa nothing,” Lynch said of Ifrica.

Other noteworthy performances came from Agent Sasco, who started with older songs, Carry On and Almighty Protect Me. He then did newer tracks like Winning Now and Banks Of The Hope.

Shane O and Fantan Mojah also appeared for a cameo.

Ugandan Bobi Wine gave a tear-jerking performance as he expressed hardships he faced in his homeland. He and Nigerian Patoranking, brought diversity to Rebel Salute.

Bounty Killer, Mr Vegas and Wayne Wonder delivered throwback sounds that had the audience on their feet, dancing and singing along in the early morning.

Nesbeth, Bushman, Turbulence and Jah Cure performed under time constraints. By this time, patrons were restless and far less interactive than at the beginning.

Bushman, during his set, called for the festival to be extended across three days to allow artistes time to deliver and for fans to get their money's worth.

Rebel Salute began on Friday under the theme 'The Preservation of Reggae' with performances by Dawn Penn, Andrew Tosh, Koffee, Marcia Aitken, Luciano, Wayne Marshall, Cat Coore, Capleton and more.

Tony Rebel received 'bigups' from Mutabaruka who said: “We give thanks fi Tony Rebel fi put on such a sweet, sweet festival. This is all about weed and reggae music.”

According to Bounty Killer: “It's not just a celebration of music, it's a celebration of a lifestyle.”

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