Montreal makes its own chilled-out island vibe in August at the Montreal International Reggae Festival, adding the best in new and traditional reggae music to late-summer’s hot, sunny days.
After last year’s 10th-anniversary blow-out weekend brought reggae legends Shaggy, Beenie Man and Morgan Heritage to Montreal, the 11th edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival, August 15-17 outdoors at the Old Port of Montreal, follows up with Marcia Griffiths, Maxi Priest, I-Octane and many more Jamaican, Caribbean, American and Canadian artists who span the reggae spectrum. As well, the festival’s Old Port site not only boasts a state-of-the-art stage and sound system, but a marketplace, delicious Montreal-made Caribbean food and activities for kids.
The festivities begin Friday night with mind-blowing warm-up music by high-energy Canadian talents Kaysha Lee, Chelsea Stuart, Nkrumah, Uncle Jonny and Ammoye, plus UK up-and-coming star C Block and more, followed by soulful headliners Maxi Priest – the best-selling British reggae artist comes to the fest to charm as always with much-loved chart-toppers and new songs from album Easy To Love – and incredible vocalist Etana, who blends Jamaican roots-reggae with a classic-pop sound.
Saturday night gets the reggae fest crowd dancing to the tune of Grammy-winning Jamaican dancehall superstar and festival favourite Sean Paul, along with new dancehall fave Kiprich, a member of Jamaican DJ collective The Alliance, the twerk-inducing beats of QQ, singer-songwriter and in-demand dancehall and hip-hop producer Demarco, international urban-influenced Caribbean music star and “Queen of Soca” Alison Hinds, and more music late into the night.
As always, festival Sunday closes on a hot note, this year bringing the Great Lady of Reggae herself, Marcia Griffiths to the Montreal stage, an artist who remains influential to the genre today, having started out as a back-up singer to Bob Marley in the ‘70s and quickly cemented her place as a star in her own right with hits including “Electric Boogie.” Sunday’s line-up also boasts Jamaican roots reggae and dancehall singer I-Octane in his first and much-anticipated appearance at the festival, prolific R&B-influenced reggae artist Sanchez, one of Jamaica’s latest and greatest hit-makers Zamunda, and a huge star of spiritually-rooted Rastafarian reggae, singer Luciano. With so many stand-out talents of the international reggae scene in Montreal for the Reggae Fest, it’s easy to simply dance your heart and soul out all weekend.
Montreal International Reggae Festival, at the Old Port of Montreal, August 15-17, 2014
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