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memories of VT Reggae Fest

Posted by king pablo 
memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 20, 2006 10:00AM
I am just remembering my many great memories at the Vt Reggae Fest over the years, as it would be happening this month if still going on. There is a new Vt Roots Reggae Fest w/different organizers going on in August and I wish it the best but I yearn for the days of the real original. The Vt Reggae Fest was at its peak the largest reggae fest I believe in the world with 20,000 festival goers in '99 and 2000. Maximum respect to Sierra, which I have grown to love, and Reggae on the River, which one year I will finally get to go to, but the VT reggae Fest was the greatest Reggae show ever. It may have featured only 1 day of music and 2 nights of camping, and not had as amazing lineups as Sierra and ROTR, but the vibes and locations can never be topped. I was on the committee that organized the show for 4 years and it was one of my greatest experiences. Curious if anyone out there has any memories of this epic festival?
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 20, 2006 10:16AM
king_pablo, respescx...
the ark band had tjh privilege to perform at VRF 1995...
excellent vibes...

one love one peace
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 20, 2006 12:22PM
i went a few years in burly and then few in the mud bog but
it kept getting farther and farther away from me in ny

i recall seeing a pablo backstage, but he didnt perform over some $ thing.
al anderson walking n talking to folks he had backed HR. massive dreads from a boston band. live band mixing from professor instread of shows where he plays tapes. great vendors food people locale. great stuff. a
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 20, 2006 03:40PM
Yes I. VRF was a great fest. When I lived in Burlington, Charlotte, St. Albans and Montpelier back in the 80's, it was the best show in the east. I always went and had a good time, even if the collie was off season (give thanks to the Montreal massive and their Lebanese friends...) and the weather was unpredictable. Great times, solid lineups.

But...the west coast is the best coast. Period. More reggae more of the time. And the weather, whew, no comparison.

That said, the last Johnson Mug Bog show with Ini Kamoze that I went to in summer of 1990 was crucial. It was like dancing on a giant bowl of thick chocolate pudding. My fiend George Abele and his percussionists opened with a nice spiritual "the reggae train is coming..."

I left for the west coast the very next morning, driving a loaded truck and trailer west towards the warm setting sun. I haven't been back to the green mountains since.

Post Edited (07-20-06 08:58)
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 20, 2006 10:02PM
Yes I, Give Thanks for the Vermont Reggae Festival......
attended 1997, 1999, and 2000. Blessed with heartical performances by both legends (Everton Blender, Sister Carol, Itals, Nadine Sutherland, Clinton Fearon etc.) and those less well known, but equally powerful (Ossie Delimore, Nasio Fontane, Rocky Duwane, Jah Works).

We made those shows coming from Virginia, and felt that most def. this was the best reggae festival on the east coast. Wondered what happen after this period?
Anyone know the deal wit dat?

Regardless, this year should be total niceness, with Meditations, Itals, and look who is third headliner:
Batch, Ras Attitude and Zioniers..................
NUFF RESPECT TO DE ST. CROIX BRETHREN DEM. Wish the I could make it this year, but little too far to travel, living in Mississippi now.


Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 20, 2006 10:34PM

I only attended Vermont Reggae Festival once during a summer when I made a Reggae journey from the West Coast to the East Coast. Remember Burning Spear, Victor Essiet, and others playing and hooking up with lots of East Coast RAW members. Very enjoyable. Think there was a hurricane the next year that caused the end of the festival.

Ever forward
Jah Son
RAW #33
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 21, 2006 08:08AM
The last show was in 2002. 2000 was the last campout show. No show in '01 and then a last hurrah in '02 at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds. The VT State Police are a major headache to work with and they yanked our assembly permit for '01 for supposedly going over the allowed max of people in 2000 in Johnson. So the committee took a year off and decided to regroup for '02. They decided to not have it have camping and to sell tix for the 1st time, it had always been free, you would pay to camp but if you could get to the show you were in at no cost. I was essentially an honorary committee member living in CA and could not attend meetings to give my say. '02 featured our best lineup ever and the show could have succeeded if at a better venue. However Essex Junction features some of VT's most anal, authoritarian cops and this was a disaster waiting to happen. An expected crowd of 8000 that turned out to be only 2000 had undercovers busting numerous people for toking and (no joke) DEA was requested (apparently they did not make it on time.) An unfortunate ending for such a great show. The fest lost a lot of money and that was the end. In my opinion the decision to hold the show at the fair did the show in and this could be foreseen, but the people in the committee who wanted this site outvoted the nays. The man who persevered in this decision, the president, and the others unfortunately made a bad call, but I have to give maximum respect to the man Zeppo (longtime committee president) and David, Jim, Susan, Tuna and the other longtime committee members who worked so hard, so long, all for free, for the love of reggae and bringing it on an annual basis to VT. I am honored to have been able to be on the committee and worked 4 shows. In '99 and 2000 I (and my bredrens)had the huge catering tent w/the sound system in the back corner of the camping area. If anyone was there you saw me partying w/you. I miss the perks of being able to take up 20 camping spots after helping zone the campground (I wish I could do that at Sierra) but at least I have great memories. Big up Ark Band. I remember you guys killing it in '95. My fest festival memories will always be from VT reggae Fest.
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 21, 2006 11:11AM
hail king_pablo,
yes iyah. you wrote
Big up Ark Band. I remember you guys killing it in '95.

yes maan....that was an exciting gig and big up tuna and the rest...
that show i&i have on video, ( somewhere? ) :-)
pls drop i a line sometime by email, respescx...

one love one peace
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 21, 2006 04:11PM
i went 2 times before...in 1992 and 1994 i believe. lambsbread, culture, macka-B and others...cant remember..but it was fun. the 1994 show was nearly 20,000 drunk & high people tho. someone died from od-ing on nitrus, she got hauled off in front of me, looking all rag doll-esque.
my most vivid memory tho, is getting to the top of this hill, and looking out into an abyss of darkness, lit up by thousands of campfires and Cutlure setting up on a hillside and playing sweet reggae music long into the night.
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 22, 2006 08:50PM
www.riseupVT.com on July 29th check it!
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 23, 2006 06:26PM
yup, essex co fairgrounds was a unfortunate decision. but babywrong was pretty harsh at the years in hardwick as well. Did anyone attend the aftershow, the last year the fest was in hardwick? wiiicked, actually better than the music at the fest.
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
July 27, 2006 05:28AM
Junjolawes, what aftershow do you speak of? the 2000 show w/Freddie and Everton Blender? If so the sound system in the big tent? If so that was my setup.
Re: memories of VT Reggae Fest
November 09, 2013 05:25PM
Hello my old WRUV friend. Yes, it was magical while it lasted. Only a lack of committee members caused us to try Champlain Fairgrounds - there just weren't enough of us left to string fence and all the other work involved in a venue without any infrastructure. I remember driving Nadine Sutherland up to Hardwick after we made a stop so she could put her feet in the local water, sort of a grounding experience. And screaming at the state sheriffs because I wanted the limo driver to take Anthony B UP the hill while people were already coming DOWN because they thought he wasn't coming. Thanks for remembering me in one of your posts. Meeting Bello and Anthony was the tiny seed that started my music publishing career many years later. Mama Lion
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