Looking back: Reggae Sumfest 2002 Image

by Biko Kennedy

A 'groomer of greats' since its inception, Reggae Sumfest have given Reggae lovers worldwide something other festivals haven't; breath-taking moments that seemingly leaves patrons mystified and yearning for more until the next staging. As the clock on the 21st showcasing ticks away, Jamaicansmusic.com looks back at the years that was and how it have evolved as time passes.

The year is 2002; Vybz Kartel's "Up to the time" persona began to take over the dancehall charts effortless while Sizzla showed his martial arts skills with his single Karate. Shaggy's It Wasn't Me is still continuing its international dominance, spilling over from 2001 while he rode the wave of successful chart placements with Sexy Lady and Angel. Warrior King's Virtuous Woman glorified a woman's touch as Tony Curtis' High Grade served as an anthem to all herb smokers. Reggae Sumfest's rich musical diet of Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop and R&B enters its 10th anniversary and now is packed as three nights of breathe taking performances, on the main stage, as oppose to five night as previous years.

Sound System Night; Tuesday, July 23

Packaged to showcase all the elements of the Dancehall and its high octane persona, the night featured six of the best sound systems with special performances by the exotic Guns &Roses Dancers. Those six sound systems included  Mighty Crown (Japan), Black Chiney (Miami), Jah Creation, Danger Zone, Pieces and Pure Playazz.

Dancehall Night; Thursday, July 25

The 'silver anniversary' kicked off on a high note with near squeaky-clean lyrical performances from Anthony B, Ninja Man, Baby Cham, Wayne Marshall, Alozade, Anthony Cruz, Mr. Vegas, Assassin, Danny English, Egg Nog, Singer J, Lady Spice, Alozade and Mr. Vegas. But all eyes were on Bounty Killer, Elephant Man and Capleton.

With Bounty carrying the swing with his then number one single Sufferer, Elephant Man and Capleton with their per usual high-energy/excitement-riddled performance, patron walked away well satisfied from what might have been one of the better line-up for Reggae Sumfest's Dancehall Night.

Conscious Party; Friday, July 26

With Barrington Levy, Joseph 'Culture' Hill, Mackie Conscious, George Nooks, Abijah, Nash Lawson and Paul Elliott painting the night's sky with cultural lyrics, it was Burning Spear who left show-goers mystified with his majestic performance.

Authentic Reggae music at its very best, Spear's echoing voice, richly tainted with superb delivery, gave the crowd everything he had to give with songs Call On You, Creation Rebel, The Youth before heading over to a pair of congo drum and belting out Swell Headed, Marcus Garvey and Foggy Road; much to the delight of the roaring audience.

International Night, Saturday, July 27

Having Ashanti, Ja Rule, Shaggy, Tony Rebel, Rayvon and Rik Rok billed for the night, everyone left more so captivated by Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley's set.

With a masterful performance, International Night proved to be Damian's comfort zone as he reeled of hits including It Was Written, Still Searching and a brotherly version of his father's classic single Could You Be Loved with Julian, Kymani and Stephen.

Nothing short of amazing.

Sourced at the Gleaner Archives.

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