Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival doesn’t let rain stop the fun

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival doesn’t let rain stop the fun
Photo by Naeisha Rose
By Naeisha Rose

At the 8th Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival Sunday, headlining act and Jamaican dance hall artist Elephant Man, who also goes by the nickname “Energy God,” was lively as ever even during a torrential downpour. He performed his hit songs on top of a large sound system, jumped into the crowd of 13,000 and danced on a soaking wet stage without missing a beat.

The event came to an abrupt end at Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans as the rain became too hazardous for the artist with the electrical sound equipment on the stage, but not before Elephant Man was able to squeeze in a less than 10-minute set featuring songs like “Jamaica,” “Pon de River,” “Willie Bounce” and “Nuh Linga.”

Serving as master of ceremonies was Dr. Kingsley “Ragashanti” Stewart, a popular host, comedian and entertainer from the island of Jamaica who is based in New York.

“The last time I punched a clock was the same time I graduated college,” said Stewart, who graduated in 1993 from Vasser College with a bachelor of arts in African Studies and Psychology, and has been in the entertainment industry ever since, according to dance hall and hip-hop online magazine urbanislandz.com.

One of the major performances included family quartet New Kingston, a progressive Reggae group consisting of brothers Tahir Panton, Stephen Suckarie, and Courtney Panton Jr. and their father Courtney Panton Sr.

They performed “Come from Far” and “Kingston Fyah Dub” from their 2017 album “A Kingston Story: Come From Far.”

Jamaican super group L.U.S.T., which consists of solo artists Singing Melody, Thriller U and Lukie D, performed without their fourth member Tony Curtis, who was out sick that weekend.

They performed popular Reggae gospel songs like “Hear My Cry Oh Lord” and Singing Melody’s solo hit “Back for Good.”

Other artists included Jahmiel, Pantoranking, Hood Celebrity, Platinum Kids, Andrew Clarke, Septimus, and the Braata Folk Singers.

Before the music kicked off, there was a cultural dance performance in the crowd called Junkanoo, a Jamaican folk dance where the Braata Productions’ folk dancers wore elaborate masks. Elementary school dancers from the Impressions Dance Troupe also performed.

In between musical performances there was a fashion show featuring clothes from KolorMania Urbanwear and a patty-eating contest.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.