Mon | Dec 5, 2022

Groovin' - Turning a day in the park into a magic carpet ride

Published:Tuesday | June 20, 2017 | 2:01 PMDave Rodney
R. Kelly is set to perform at this year's staging of Groovin' In The Park.
Beres Hammond performing at last year's Groovin' In The Park.
BoyzIIMen at a previous staging of Groovin' In The Park.
A crowd shot of a previous staging of Groovin' In The Park.

Groovin' In the Park, New York City's premier reggae and R&B concert, is set to take place this Sunday in Roy Wilkins Park, Queens. The outdoor event is celebrating its seventh renewal, and over the years, Groovin' has attracted a dazzling array of the finest available talent in both genres.

Beres Hammond, Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Bob Andy, Morgan Heritage, Chronixx, Mavado, Toots Hibbert, John Holt, Beenie Man, Stitchie, and many other luminaries have blazed the reggae stage. On the R&B and pop side, the stage has been set on fire by Michael Bolton, Air Supply, Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle, Babyface, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle, Billy Ocean, Brian McKnight, and Boyz II Men.

But while the Groovin' talent list is unmistakably superlative year after year, another powerful attraction of the festival are the luxurious and thoughtful considerations that come with the Groovin' experience.

For starters, this Sunday will be in the soul-warming 80s and a generous supply of cold bottled water will be distributed to attendees in the general

admissions section.

Attendees will have not just a choice of Jamaican food items but health-conscious culinary treats will be served up from cuisines from around the world. And almost 100 portable bathrooms, including 15 outfitted for the physically challenged, will ensure that a visit to the restroom is never a 10K marathon on Sunday.

The VIP section of Groovin' will take on the posture of a tropical island with designers incorporating vibrant Caribbean colors in various sections that they have created in the park. Each VIP attendee will be supplied with two hot meals, plus unlimited beverage while they jam to the sweet nostalgic sounds of Busy Signal, Freddie McGregor, Tarrus Riley, Ken Boothe, Leroy Sibblies and U Roy.

And in the VVIP luxury suites, a day in the park will become a blissful magic carpet ride. A limited number of elevated sky boxes will offer the prefect optics for viewing the pied piper of R&B, R. Kelly and Grammy-winner Stephanie Mills.

gourmet experience

An all-inclusive, unlimited gourmet experience against a backdrop of plush oversized sofas, high ball tables and Ottoman chairs will make the Groovin' experience feel like more than a luxury resort.

Each sky suite will be provisioned with a bountiful basket of fresh fruits, and after the mouthwatering nouvelle Caribbean cuisine, VVIP guests can savour sweet delights like Sabrina's rum cake and sorrel cheesecake. The VIP and VVIP bathrooms will be spacious and self-flushing, with attendants offering toiletries and fragrances by leading designer brands. Additionally, a round-the-clock janitorial crew will ensure that the entire venue is impeccable.

"My friends and I look forward to Groovin' in the Park every year," Myrna Merchant, a former banker and executive administrator in New York, told The Gleaner. "We love the music, but we also come for the natural mystic and the overall Groovin' experience, which is priceless ... it is a fabulous vibe session and reunion for family, friends, schoolmates and colleagues." she affirmed.