Barbados Reggae on the Hill
Barbados Reggae on the Hill, Sunday, May 1st, 2005 was not a day easily forgotten by the 15,000 people in Farley Hill National Park who witnessed the first annual “Reggae on the Hill” concert.
Music in general and reggae specifically, is something that tends to transcend colour, class and creed and has done so since the early days of the Bob Marley era.
It was a truly unifying experience, perhaps because Farley Hill was so packed, with mostly Barbadian people, and you couldn’t help but feel “at one” with those around you.
The variety of people was just amazing. Some people were there with their families, including very small children. Some with an entire Sunday lunch packed up, people with blankets and coolers, friends and lovers.
At any one point, you could see picnic blankets next to plastic chairs, Sunday hats next to Rasta tams, glamour girls next to shorts and t-shirts, and stew and pie next to cutters.
Originally scheduled to start at midday, the crowd was so ready that the concert actually started a full hour ahead of time, very unusual for the Caribbean!
MC, Mac Fingall, kicked off the day with some wisecracks that had the already hyped crowd roaring with laughter. As the staggeringly high temperatures continued to rise, and the day progressed, the crowd grew and grew.
Once local band ‘Mo Lava’ graced the stage set in front of the historic ruins, the heavens opened breaking the two-week long heat wave and dry spell that had been fuelling fires across the island.
Starting out as a cool drizzle and quickly advancing to a full-on torrential downpour, it was a blessing from above, exactly what was needed and it rained all day long.
The hill became a waterfall; the grass became a slosh of clay and mud. Initially the crowd was almost entirely covered with brightly coloured umbrellas, however, it soon became obvious that no amount of umbrellas could stop the rain and the crowd accepted the inevitable and simply got wet.
The rain only added to the atmosphere of the day further united the crowd. The rain seemed to wash away not only the grass, but also inhibition, doubt, fear and hatred, leaving nothing but humanity.
The day continued and transpired into night as the likes of Junior Kelly, Maxi Priest, Barrington Levy and Berris Hammond performed.
It was a truly religious experience as these artistes left the crowd nothing short of awestruck, and after almost ten hours of jamming in the rain and mud Now, only five months until we can do it all over again!