Reggae Rise Up Festival rocked Baltimore, MD with good vibes for 3 days (June 23 - 25) and we were present there to witness the celebration on Friday and Saturday. This year the line up was one of the best ever and I am sure nobody was disappointed even though the weather turned gloomy at times. The sets were divided into 2 stages - Rise up the stage and the Vivbe stage and the sets were well planned so that everyone gets a chance to witness all the bands/ artists.
Friday started right at 1 PM with Higher Education who kicked off the festival with great success. Next up Dale and the ZDubs Raised up the high spirits of the audience and presented a great show at the rise up stage. Vana Liya on the vibe stage changed the mood with some relaxed and different vibes. Cocoa - Stick Figure’s very own puppy member was coming on stage occasionally to vibe with the audience and everyone was loving it. When The Elovators took the stage next, it was already raining but that did not stop anyone from enjoying with Plastic balls flying and the crowd cheering. There was a small confusion that happened next because it was informed that Method Man and Redman will not be able to perform, but the organizers managed the situation really well without much lag. Shwayze took the Rise up stage and the crowd absolutely loved it. Iya Terra was up next on the Vibe stage with an energy that was really up there - the Roots reggae band just rocked the stage. Next on the Rise up stage was one of the headliners and they showed what they are capable of - the music that is a blend of Reggae, Punk and Ska took the audience to foot stomp and headbang. Tribal Seeds up next was all about great music with relevant lyrics. Finally, Stick Figure ended the night with an absolutely stunning stage presence. Cocoa was coming on stage playing and interacting with the band and audience. The visuals in the back were mesmerizing and the pyrotechnics took the spectacle to the next level.
Saturday was way better weather than Friday and everyone was hoping that it stays the same throughout. The day started with Crooked Coast with only good vibes. Following up were Fubar, Cydeways, and Joe Samba on the two stages respectively - it was just great energy from one stage to another and it was totally contagious to everyone. Next up was Kbong & Johnny Cosmic - an almost side project of 2 members of Stick Figure and it was awesome to see them perform at the vibe stage again. Collie Buddz at the Rise up stage was next - the Bermudian singer was really popular among the crowd and you know why when you see him perform. Next on the vibe stage, was - Bone Thugs n Harmony - the legendary Hip Hop group basically dominated the whole stage with some classic Hop Hop music. Citizen Cope was next on the Rise Up stage - the Singer, Song Writer, and Producer multitalented artist is known to create genre-blending music with the essence of Rock, Blues, and Reggae creating a different vibe. One of the headliners of the night The Movement was up next and they took the energy to the next level. With smoke guns on the stage and power-packed energy, the members blended HipHop with Reggae with some great lyrics. Finally, on the Rise up stage it was the great Damian Marley - the son of the God of the genre Legendary Bob Marley. Damian dominated the stage like a king - with the Rastafari flag flying in the background and the visuals in the backscreen it was almost an "out of the world" experience. Damian is known for his lyrics and his presence on stage - he did not disappoint.
The two days were a great success with the organizers and festival management doing a great job. My biggest highlight of the festival was to see Damian Marley perform live. Even though it rained it never became a hassle for anyone. Hope to see the festival come back stronger next year with a lineup similar to this year.