Reggae Rise Up- Vinoy Park- St. Petersburg Florida

On March 14th I gleefully packed my new Volkswagen Golf (wolfsburg edition for those of you VW nerds) and headed south. My 1200 mile journey took me just over 23 hours through a very, very cold eastern seaboard.  I do not think I saw 60+ degrees until I reached Gainesville, where I of course had to play a few tracks from Less than Jake to play homage to their home town. I stayed in Parrish, about 30 minutes from Vinoy Park with the lovely King family, and Kitten.  Night one started with a pre-party at Jannus Live, a venue I have seen so many of my favorite bands play at, but never had the chance to visit.  The pre-party was headlined by Unified Highway, led by Rebelutions' very own Eric Rachmany.  I was thrilled to finally see them live, and for their first show outside of California. 

Not much sleep was had, and day one was upon us.  I made my way to will call to pick up my press credentials, seriously wondering if I had paid a homeless man to park my car.  (It happens in Philly all the time) Arriving in time to see one of my favorite native Florida bands, Resinated take the Rise Up Stage I busted out my camera and started taking photos.  For me day one consisted of Resinated, Nattali Rize, Tribal Seeds, and of course my favorite Rebelution.  It was a first for me seeing Nattali Rize and Tribal Seeds and I can say I am now an even bigger fan.  I loved that shewas wearing red chucks with her summery Florida dress and giant sunglasses.  That night Iya Terra lead the after party at the State Theater.  The crowd consisted of no less than several notable performers from that days festivities.  I finally got a chance to offically meet Marley from Rebelution and had a chance to reminisce with Kenny from Resinated about the first time I saw them at Frozen Harbor in Baltimore many many moons ago. 

A repeat of very little sleep and day two started with having to be dropped off in time to make it to see Iya Terra for a second time on the rise up stage.  St. Patricks day at a reggae festival made way for no shortage of enthusiasm for all things green. Tropidelic rocked the vibe stage shortly after.  The night followed with J Boog, Matisyahu and Damian "Jr Gong" Marley celebrating being Irish with the rest of us.

The final day was as strong as the remaining days regarding enthusiasm and amazing musical talent.  I made sure to arrive early to see Kash'd Out on the vibe stage.  The remainder of my day I spent hustling between the stages to see The Expendables, Raging Fyay, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Collie Buddz and the closer of the festival Soja. 

Being my first multi- day festival I have a few takeaways from the event.  The love of music is strong in both old and young, it is amazing to have so many people who are simply there for the music.  VIP vs. regular tickets don't matter much past the level of cleanliness of the bathrooms and lines for drinks.  I saw so many "VIP" ticket holders are the front of the barricade along with the regular ticket holders.  They were some serious troopers in the midday Florida sun, many props to them.  Finally, never ever underestimate the value of comfortable footwear.  I learned the hard way, with an average of 10+ miles per day running around with my trusty Nikon.  Thank you band-aids you saved my weekend, and remaining trek home which included stops in Disney World, Savannah and Washington D.C.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Stick Figure, Twiddle and Iya Terra- The Fillmore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1.17.18

Last night I had the please of spending a good chunk of the day with the awesome guys of Stick Figure.  A friend and I headed out to catch sound check early in the day, and the energy was there from the minute we walked in the door.  This was the first stop on their Above the Storm tour, and everyone was eager to get the show on the road.  We were greeted by the ever majestic tour mascot, Cocoa, and she thoroughly enjoyed the tug duck I brought along. 

After sound check, my friend and I headed over to Cantina Dos Segundos in Fishtown for some authentic Mexican cuisine and margaritas.  Once we were finished, we headed back over to the Fillmore where Iya Terra was ready to take the stage.  A relatively new band, made up of West Coasters, they started the night off with the proper amount of reggae vibes.  This was my first time seeing them, and I am hoping certainly not my last.  Next up was Twiddle, who I have had the pleasure of seeing before when he toured with Matisyahu, and did a guest spot with Roots of Creation.  As an American Rock band, they were as expected totally ready to please the crowd and their loyal followers without any disappointment.  I can say the Yoda was certainly a nice touch.

After a short break Cocoa made her way onto stage looking for more toys and treats and the crowd came through for her.  Once she was successfully spoiled, Stick Figure took the stage to thunderous applause.  They rocked old songs and new, and were absolutely rocking the crowd with positive vibes.  The tour continues on through February as they make their way across the US to their final stop in Las Vegas. 


January 15th, 2018- Rebelution- Penns Peak, Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

So, I feel as though my first blog post back to blogging after falling off the wagon should be dedicated to a band that I absolutely love, Rebelution.  I am excited to say this is a band I have been shooting since seeing them back in 2015 at the Hemp Heals tour in Philadelphia.  It has been an honor to see members come and go, watching them all grow into amazing performers, with an outstanding stage presence.  Their new addition, Kyle, happens to be a fellow Jersian so clearly, I’m obligated to love him. Eric, Marley, Wes and Rory continue to shine, each, preserving the original feel.  Zach, their long-time trumpet player has been a big supporter of my photography, making shooting them even more gratifying. They fall within the reggae genre, but are unlike many others, as regardless of your mood their music suits it. 

Last nights show was the 5th SOLD OUT stop on the Winter Greens Tour, accompanied by DJ Mackle and Raging FyahPenns Peak is a medium size concert venue in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, conveniently located in the very, very cold Pocono Mountains.  Fans braved arctic temperatures (it was 11 degrees when I arrived) to flock to the venue on a Sunday evening.  I saw at least two dozen fans freezing attempting to buy leftover tickets.  The love of all things reggae is alive and well in the Pocono Mountains.  I was thrilled to see the setlist was a mile long, and they did not disappoint with song selections, ranging from old favorites like Safe and Sound (Courage to Grow), Bright Side of Life (Bright Side of Life), Roots Reggae Music (Count Me In), Sky is the Limit (Peace of Mind), Feeling Alright (Courage to Grow), and my personal favorite Meant to Be (Peace of Mind), they surprised the crowd with three new songs off their upcoming album. New songs to look forward to include: “Celebrate”, “Legend” and “City Life”, all of which were amazing, and I cannot wait to hear way more of what they have been working on. 

Their tour continues onward, unfortunately not near me, through the end of February.  Fear not, as Zach told me today, summer is just around the corner.  I know I am looking forward to Reggae Rise Up in Florida in March, where they will be headlining on Friday evening.  The three-day long festival is certainly not one to miss. 

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