Thu | May 23, 2019

Ja's Stepping High ganja festival celebrates 15 years - Local reggae acts gear up

Published:Friday | February 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Lutan Fyah

Local reggae acts Capleton, Lutan Fyah, and up-and-coming talents Dann-I, Koffee, King Fragrance, and Jah9 are gearing up for the 15th staging of Jamaica's ganja festival, aptly dubbed 'Stepping High'.

Operated by the Connell family in Negril, the festival will be held over two days, beginning March 2, 2018, with Stepping High Underground, which will pay homage to the 11 years the event was underground at the original SH Grounds, West End, Negril. On day two, March 3, Stepping High in the Light will take place at Cayenne Beach, Norman Manley Boulevard.

Other acts in the line-up include Runkus, Kedus, Cali P, and international artiste Tony Rayn from Israel, who will form part of the musical ensemble.

Known for providing patrons with a taste of Rastafarian culture - local reggae musical acts, a canna-fashion show, live poetry, and the best strains of herbs - the festival will be held this year under the theme 'Preserving Our Heritage, Securing Our Future'.


Great vibes


Director and organiser of the Stepping High festival, Ms Khimaja Connell, says the festival will continue to live up to its reputation, creating that feeling of oneness and fostering friendships and great vibes. As obtained last year, it will feature several exhibitions including the space station, cooking expo, educational workshops, and panel discussions.

According to Connell, Stepping High contributes to community, cultural, and educational development through the annual staging of the event.

"People look forward to Stepping High every year to showcase their products and services at our expo. We make sure that earnings from the event are spread as wide as possible across the community of Negril from the local taxi drivers to the bed and breakfasts, the printers - and the farmers."

Stepping High will also "celebrate the freedom to enjoy ganja without fear of prosecution or persecution," added Connell.

The event typically attracts patrons from the Caribbean, the United States, Germany, Japan, Spain, Russia, and as far afield as Israel and Singapore.

Stepping High began in 2003 as an underground event promoted primarily by word-of-mouth, and has, over the years, become an enviable brand. Festival gates will be open on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., and from 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.