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Despite rain...

Rebel Salute Night Two leaves audience wanting seconds

Published:Monday | January 20, 2020 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
I-Octane performs with his daughter at Rebel Salute.
The rains came and the umbrellas popped out at Rebel Salute.
Mikey Spice thrills the ladies at Rebel Salute.
Moses Davis aka Beenie Man performs with singer Aisha Davis.
Queen Ifrica rocks the stage at Rebel Salute 2020.
Lady G
Selector Dynamq
Jack Scorpio

Rebel Salute is a festival that is known for battling the elements – and winning. ‘Saluters’ know by now that a little rain never hurts a soul. Instead, it awakens the spirits of dancehall and reggae music lovers. And this is exactly what it did on the second, and final, night of Rebel Salute, held at the Grizzly’s Plantation, St Ann. Initially, the weather forecast looked like a child faking sickness, with partly cloudy skies in the early afternoon and clear skies by the time the organisers were ready to fly the gate at 5p.m.

But after the opening acts, which included gospel entertainers Stephen Blake and Rhoda Isabella, along with ‘artistes to watch’ like Mortimer, Jahbar I, and Imeru Tafari, umbrellas became the most-sought-after accessory.

Still, the rain did not stop the Rebel Salute team from directing entertainers from their respective tents to the stage to perform at their designated time.

The sets of entertainers such as Benjy Myaz, Lady G, Queen Ifrica, Richie Spice, Mikey Spice, I-Octane, and Moses Davis, better known as Beenie Man, had their fans screaming at the sky as the music captivated their minds, bodies, and spirits. Lady G was blessed with a few extra minutes as the majority of the audience called for an encore, while Queen Ifrica, with her typical 30-minute-long set, held the attention of her fans. Running back and forth to escape the rain in the middle of their recitals of hits became a routine, and for some, will be the struggle that makes their Rebel Salute experiences a fascinating tale.

“The music ambassadors are the main contributors to the longevity of this show. Saturday’s line-up, similar to Friday’s, includes artistes, a lot of whom have been on the show since the inception, with songs that take the listeners down memory lane and connects them to life experiences,” said Camile Glenister, the Jamaica Tourist Board’s deputy director of tourism marketing.

“It is an assemblage of male artistes, with strong female acts, as well as some exciting up-and-coming acts, and from what I am seeing, it has lived up to my expectations. The second day/night is usually stronger, though last year, Koffee being the breakthrough artiste, had pulled a crowd, and it was a little more intense,” she added.

With room for delays, the show did begin to move at a slower pace owing to the constant teasing from the gloomy skies. Beenie Man stepped on to the platform, unbothered, in his black and gold suit and the cleanest pair of designer shoes to match, with the familiar intro to Girls Prayer.

While the wet weather had, by then, turned the plantation into a muddy playfield, leaving several individuals falling to the ground to get a good peek of Beenie Man’s performance, the sporadic showers also seemed to take a break for, as the eighth studio album title reads, the ‘many moods of Moses’. And with that, the chronically upbeat ‘doctor’ continued his set with some of the well-known songs from that track, listing such as Foundation and Who Am I. He also invited songbird Aisha Davis, to sing with him for a few minutes.

When Anthony B took the main stage to bring proceedings to a close, the sun was shining and the weather was sweet, leaving the patrons of the first festival for 2020 not only wanting seconds, but predicting next year’s line-up.