I’ve DJed at Reggae On The River for twenty years straight. This is one of my favorite sets of all of them, coming between Lucky Dube & Burning Spear who closed the show in reverent fashion. It was a massively attended sacred groundation, Sunday August 4th, 2002, in the shadow of 9/11, war drums sounding, false witness rising. But out amongst the redwoods, in Piercy, California at French’s Camp there had been several wonderful nights & big days of music all on that “Unity” founded one stage. By the last evening everything was soaring. Here’s what it looked like as I gazed out at the lit up crowd of revelers, thanks to my dear friend Lee’s amazing photographs © Lee Abel www.reggaeportraits.com
Lucky left everyone ecstatic. I saw Montel Williams walking around with his entourage in a cloud of smoke. They were based slightly up the hill front left of the large DJ booth up stage that overlooked the massive crowd. I had rehearsed this mix & was way past dready. The staff & MC were so exhausted & hoarse by that point I began almost immediately layering several sounds, clearing the palette with secret sauce… Beats & Bob Marley Be Loved grabbed & wrung out/in, folks started reacting right away, screams, even collective gasps as the mix went meta. Montel’s posse seemed to levitate as they shouted out in glee & then… well, listen. Critical Mass Lift Off! Here’s the first 11 minutes of a 45 minute meta slam jam while I & I set the stage for Burning Spear & his deep ‘Reggae Music Church’ style meditation & performance.
Reggae On The River gets back to the garden this year, once again being held at French’s Camp in Piercy after several years of community splitting controversy & struggle. That story’s for another time & place. For now the ‘Unity’ backdrop awaits. It should be quite a show & reunion.
MD Reggae On The River 2002 photo © Kim Sallaway www.kimsallawayphotography.com