Marley’s faves at Reggae Fest
What: Midwest Reggae Fest
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Nelseon Ledges
Tickets: $95 for both days; $75 for Saturday and Sunday; $50 for Sunday
1 to 2:30 p.m.: Broke By Monday
3 to 4:30 p.m.: Seefari
5 to 6:30 p.m.: Rasta Rafiki
7:30 to 9 p.m.: Bushman
9:30 to 11 p.m.: Yellowman
11 p.m.: Marty Dread and Carlos Jones (side stage)
Noon to 1:30 p.m.: Umojah
2 to 3:30 p.m.: Jah Messengers
4 to 6 p.m.: Blue Riddim Band
6:45 to 8:45 p.m.: Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band
8:45 to 9:30 p.m.: Gregory Isaacs Tribute
9:30 to 11 p.m.: Etana
Noon to 1:15 p.m.: The Flex Crew
1:30 to 2:45 p.m.: Marty Dread
3:15 to 4:45 p.m.: Kenyatta Hill/Yard Squad
5:15 to 6:45 p.m.: The Meditations
7:15 to 8:45 p.m.: Taj Weekes and Adowa
9:15 to 10:45 p.m.: The Mighty Diamonds
By John Benson
When it came time to book the 20th annual Midwest Reggae Fest, which takes place Friday through Sunday at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, promoter-producer Patrick “Packy” Malley said legendary act The Meditations were an obligatory choice to be on the bill.
“The Meditations are hardcore roots reggae classics,” Malley said. “I love their work and their Rastafarian message that they sing about. I must be in good company because they were Bob Marley’s favorite harmony group, as well. I am honored to invite them back because they represent the golden age of reggae, which is the three-part harmony singers backed by a roots reggae band. They’re outstanding.”
In terms of being a legendary reggae act, The Meditations, known for their 1974 hit single “Woman is Like a Shadow,” are atop the mountain of relevance regarding the group’s relationship with the genre-defining Marley.
The Meditations — Ansel Cridland, Danny Clarke and Winston Watson — provided backing vocals on Marley’s “Jamming” b-side “Funky Reggae Party,” as well as “Rastaman Live Up” and “Blackman Redemption.” It’s their connection to Marley that often dominates the conversation.
“It’s OK because we go through the world to help people understand the meaning of reggae music,” said Cridland, calling from Brooklyn, N.Y. “Reggae music is not like dancing where people jump up and jump up and jump up. Reggae music is more spiritual. I’d say it’s about togetherness. We were with Bob Marley on The Commodores show in Madison Square Garden. I remember when Bob was about to do that show, people said he couldn’t open for The Commodores. Bob laughed and said, ‘Look, this is what we want. Reggae music is catching on in America.’ Since then, we saw our crowd and the American crowd meeting together. This is what Marley predicted over the years, and see, it’s come to reality.”
Perhaps there is no better example of this than Midwest Reggae Fest, which started five years ago as a one-day show. Attendance also has increased over that time to roughly 3,000 fans. Malley says this is one of the nation’s premiere reggae fests.