Large turnout for Marley celebrations
Although the Redemption Live concert at Sabina Park on Sunday attracted a great deal of attention, the official celebration of late reggae legend Bob Marley's 71st birthday actually got under way a day earlier at 56 Hope Road, on the singer's actual birth date.
The venue was open to the public at 10 a.m. and within an hour a huge crowd had gathered. Among the earlier activities were the blowing of the Abeng, releasing of doves, and cutting of the birthday cake. There was still plenty to partake in at the numerous booths set up across the grounds. There were plenty of craft items on display, from unique footwear to ceramic dolls outfitted in red, gold and green pieces. There was also a huge amount of artwork on display, much of which was focused on Marley's face.
Of course, the celebrations wouldn't be complete without an array of ital dishes. Ackee and saltfish, cabbage, callaloo and vegetable burgers were all available. As if the items at the booths were not enough, the One Love CafÈ inside the museum was also open and fully stocked. The newly added Bob's Bowl, added to the cafe's menu in celebration of the Gong's 71st birthday, was a huge hit. So was Red Stripe's limited edition beer in Marley's honour.
With the decriminalisation of marijuana still being celebrated by Jamaicans and visitors, many in attendance on Saturday did not hesitate to light up. Smoking in public places is illegal, but with the large amount of persons on the grounds it was hard for security personnel to keep the situation under control. Although there was a designated smoking area, many persons puffed outside of that zone, much to the annoyance of those who preferred not to inhale the second-hand smoke.
There were also symposiums at the event, with Rastafarianism Today, Sustainable Agro, and Jamaica's Reggae Music among the topics.
At about 3 p.m., patrons were treated to a little extra at the Reggae Jam Session. The mini concert featured Dre Island, Bongo Herman, Winston McAnuff and American Richard Hardesty, as well as Marley 71st ambassadors Kelissa, Iba Mahr and Jesse Royal. All paid tribute to Marley by doing lively renditions of some of his most popular hits.
Skip Marley, Bob's grandson, brought the curtains down on an evening of celebration. He performed a slew of his grandfather's hits, including Rastaman Vibration, Three Little Birds and One Love. He also performed a few of his own songs, including Life and Cry To Me, as well as a duet with Marcia Griffiths, in a well-received musical package.