Island flavor came to Santa Clara on July 6 as 8,000 reggae fans visited California’s Great America for the second annual Island Reggae Festival. The show, sponsored by RudeBwoy Entertainment and Cukui, brought 13 acts, and two surprise guests, to the Redwood Amphitheater stage.
“I wanted to do a festival that was made up of Polynesians – by Polynesians, but not only for Polynesians,” said Danny Perez, a promoter with RudeBwoy. “I wanted to show the world and the Bay Area that Polynesians can do festivals too…For the first two years it was Polynesian-based artists. Next year we want to bring in other artists because everybody does reggae – Caucasian, Polynesian, Mexican – but we wanted to start it off with a strong Polynesian base just to show the world that we can do reggae too.”
The show kicked off with Reno-based artist Eph Bee Cee (Fam Bam Crew). ValuFa, Swiss and Monsta Ganja, Teki, Finn, Josh White, Drew Deezy, Spawnbreezie, Siaosi and Kiwini Vaitai, and Aradhna followed before headliner J-Boog took the stage and ramped up the party, which ended just in time for guests to watch Great America’s fireworks extravaganza. Common Kings and Young LB surprised the crowd by jumping on stage and performing, while hosts DJ Nappy, Chubbs, and BigBodyCisco of BigBodyRadio.com kept things moving between acts.
“With Polynesians and our size, there’s a misconception that we’re rowdy,” said Perez. “We look rowdy – I get that – but when you have events with 8,000 people and there are no hiccups, we can’t be that bad. That’s another thing. I want to [use this event] to shed a positive light on Polynesians. We are actually happy people. We aren’t rowdy people.
“We’re all about unity,” he continued. “That’s our thing. We’re about unity and togetherness…We’re trying to change the negative perceptions out there. It isn’t all negative, but the little that there is, we’re trying to change.”
In its first year, the show nearly sold out, and this year, there weren’t enough tickets to go around. People traveled from as far north as Washington State to see the event. And, while Great America is unable to accommodate a larger group, Perez is considering making next year’s festival a two-day event to further showcase reggae music to the South Bay audience.
For more information visit www.islandreggaefest.com.