THE 12th Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival was a big hit last weekend at Markham Park in Weston, Florida.
Promoted by Jamaican Jerk Festival USA Inc, the event attracted over 20,000 patrons from diverse backgrounds who savoured the large jerk menu.It was more than just food, however. Dancehall lovers converged at the Fusion Sound Stage which offered performances from alternative reggae bands as well as recorded selections from the Renaissance, Coppershot and Stone Love sound systems.
A karaoke stage gave patrons to try their hand as performers, while the cultural stage showcased Jamaican folk music. The live entertainment package kicked off with Fab Five band leading the mainly Caribbean audience on a journey down memory lane with several of their hit songs. But it was roots singer Etana who stole the spotlight. She delivered an energetic set that included sing-a-long tunes such as Warrior Love, Jah Jah Blessings, I am Not Afraid, Wrong Address, Free, Roots and A Better Tomorrow.
Veteran dancehall artiste Johnny Osbourne, who experienced a career revival this year thanks to his collaboration with producers Major Lazer, was another crowd-pleaser. He went into his archives for rockers like Buddy Bye, Ice Cream Love, Truth and Rights and Water Pumping, among others.
Morgan Heritage closed the live segment with popular songs, including Reggae Bring Back Love, Down by the River and Tell Me How Come.
The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival has also been staged in New York City. Promoters say Washington DC will be their next stop. This year's event was co-sponsored by Grace, Digicel, Publix Supermarket, Western Union and Victoria Mutual.