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Garance Reggae Festival 2010

Garance Reggae Festival 2010

Garance Reggae Festival 2010

By on - Photos by Michael Grein - 1 comment

The French reggae festival’s first time in the open air under the sun of Provence.

A lot of people know the ‘Garance Reggae’ as a great indoor festival. For the first time this summer, it took place in Bagnols-sur-Cèze in southern France, at the Arthur Rimbaud park, based in the shade of many trees and on the Cèze river. With the moving into the Gard region, the 18th edition of the festival became bigger, longer and open air for the first time! From July 28th to July 31st, the little city near Avignon transformed into a Reggae town.

First Day : Special sound system night

The first day of the festival started on Wednesday afternoon and was dedicated to sound systems. The French Blackboard Jungle sound system and Original Bass Foundation (O.B.F) opened this new edition, followed by JahLoveMuzik featuring Culture Dan from Jamaica. The highlight of the first day came with the King Stur Gav’ sound system founded by the veteran U-Roy. Charlie Chaplin and Josey Wales “The Colonel” were the sound’s deejays for the night alongside U-Roy himself. Despite the famousness of these great sounds, the start was a little bit subdued with not many people present. A good dance nonetheless!

The festival visitors settled with their tents and caravans in the “Kingston Village”. It was a very nice atmosphere at this camping area with music blaring from big speakers at nearly every corner. The location beside the river was most welcome. Many of the visitors spent their days swimming and relaxing by the river, before the concerts started in the afternoon.

Second Day : Inna De Yard, Jah Mason, Barrington Levy…

Thursday was the first festival day with live acts on the main stage. The gates opened at 5 p.m., with a roots and culture warm up at the Dub Station Corner. In the festival area one could dander through a market place with food and clothes. Such market stalls grew up more and more during the weekend on the camping ground and also on the paths to the festival area – this created a really nice atmosphere. The program on the stage started around 6 p.m. with Tu Shung Peng from France. Jamaican Ras Daniel Ray sang some slow and trendy tunes with the band. Clinton Fearon, (ex-member of The Gladiators) also joined Tu Shung Peng for two songs. The audience was again small but with the second band of the day, the Inna De Yard All Stars, it increased more and more. The ensemble around Earl “Chinna” Smith, the legendary guitar player, unites some young and old reggae artists. Kiddus I, Derajah, Matthew McAnuff, Clinton Fearon and Cedric “The Congos” Myton, who were already present in the audience the day before while U-Roy was toasting, played wonderful acoustic reggae. When Matthew McAnuff sang his hit 'Be Careful' the audience sang loudly. Likewise for Cedric Myton’s version of 'Fisherman'. With the third band came the first change in the scheduled program. Instead of Third World, Jah Mason appeared on stage, backed by the well-known Dub Akom Band. They did a great job with both slow and several fast songs like 'Hill Side' and 'Highgrade', but the massive seemed a little bit tired maybe because of the high temperatures.

Because Junior Byles had a “problem with the airplane” Winston & Matthew McAnuff filled in for him as the next spot. The McAnuffs were fantastic. Matthew started the show with a short setlist, of course it contained the song 'Be careful' again, but this time not acoustically. Following his son, Winston McAnuff continued and played like a young man. He was jumping and dancing crazily and his singing was very powerful.

Barrington Levy, in his 30th year on the stage, couldn’t hold the pace of his forerunner, at the beginning. The second half of his concert starting with the song 'Murderer' got more spirited and powerful. He performed a 10 minute medley of 'Here I Come' and 'Black Roses' and neither he nor the people wanted him to leave the stage. The park was already at full capacity.

After Barrington Levy and the Ruff Cutt Band, the Italian musician Alborosie was up next. The singjay, who resides in Jamaica, had a very strong sound thanks to his musicians and fantastic backing singers. He started with a medley of 'No Cocaine' and 'Herbalist'. He also covered some classic tunes like Alpha Blondy’s 'Jerusalem', Black Uhuru’s 'Sensemilla' and the Bob Marley song 'One Love' was sung by Alborosie and the audience together. He finally left the stage during 'Kingston Town' shortly before the festival area was closed at 3 a.m. He was the perfect choice for the last show of the first day. Parallel to all these concerts on the main stage the sound systems in the Dub Station Corner were going on. Blackboard Jungle, O.B.F featuring YT, Dawa Hi-Fi, Jacin featuring Mighty Cricket and Anthony John made great vibes from 5 p.m till 3 a.m !

Third Day : Ijahman Levi, Toot & The Maytals, John Holt, Raggasonic…

On Friday, Ijahman Levi opened the night. The veteran singer gave the audience what they wanted : a nice selection of his biggest tunes. Then came Junior Byles for his first show in France ever. Known to suffer from personal issues, he entered the stage already confused; a few times he wanted to leave and some people at the edge of the stage had to push him back. After only four songs, 'Fade Away', 'Beat down Babylon' and 'Curly Locks' included, he finally left the stage and the guitar player, Sangie Davis, of his accompanying Pon Fire Band sang instead of him.

After that sad episode Toots and the Maytals played. There show was more than compensation. These fantastic musicians should have played later. They fascinated and carried the massive away enormously. The mood this Ska-Reggae created with famous songs like 'Monkey Man', 'Pressure Drop', 'Funky Kingston' along with their 48 year old band history was gorgeous. During the song '54-46' after the “give it to me one time, two times, three times… ” bridge Toots said “You’re the very first audience that ever done seven times” which made the people scream, although it might not have been the first time he’s said that to a crowd before.

John Holt, another Reggae legend of Jamaica, who is known for his song 'Police in Helicopter' amongst others followed “Toots” Hibbert. The aforementioned 'Police in Helicopter' was celebrated and everybody was singing with John Holt, as he created a smooth atmosphere backed by the UK’s Dub Asante band. After the break Spyda Team from France played some very strong dancehall where all people were dancing in the 'Helicopter Style' in preparation for Raggasonic.

After more than ten years away from the stage Raggasonic made a great comeback. The massive was numerous, the park was again overcrowded and enthusiastic for their great French ragga. It seemed that the people were waiting very long time for this reunion of the greatest Ragga duo in France. The break after Raggasonic was very long affording a bit of rest or some skanking at the Dub Station Corner. Like every day during the whole festival, French reggae & dub sound systems like Dub Livity, Nyabin Sound and Stand High Patrol featuring Pupa Jim were playing non stop.

Tarrus Riley finally started with a big delay at 2.30 a.m. shortly before the gates of the festival would normally be closed. The late hour showed in the small number of visitors. A lot of them had already left the area and compared to Raggasonic the audience was not that big. Tarrus Riley wasn’t really energetic but for his fans who hung around for so long, Tarrus and his famous saxophone player Dean Fraser played their best.

Last day : Turbulence, Luciano, Big Youth, Bunny Wailer…

On Saturday the sun was hotter than the days before. All the people were waiting while sitting in the shade by the river or in the water until the program started. The Dub Station Corner this day came up with Lion Youth from Swiitzerland, Soul Stereo from Paris featuring Jamaican deejay Lone Ranger, and the famous Jah Observer sound system from London, which was founded in the early 70’s.

Turbulence arrived too late so that Brigadier Jerry, Charlie Chaplin and Josey Wales started at least one hour after the allotted beginning. These three Deejay Greats, were not scheduled to play but because they were nevertheless present with their Sound Systems JahLoveMuzik and Stur Gav’ they filled in. After them Turbulence finally arrived and entered the stage. He had only a short time to play but his energetic singing was loved by the audience. Without a big break, the hugely anticipated Luciano started playing. He fascinated many listeners with his singing, his “flying” locks and his soft voice.

Mavado despite being scheduled didn’t appear, so Big Youth’s took his place, backed by the Pon Fire Band. Known since the 70s for his talking style, the forerunner of Rap music, and his special frivolous dancing Big Youth gave a very special show. He gave his own interpretations of Dawn Penn’s hit 'No No No' and Ray Charles’ 'Hit the Road Jack'. One of the legendary fathers of the Jamaican Reggae, Bunny Wailer followed on the main stage. Talking about the history of Reggae and its birthplace Trenchtown, he was one of the most anticipated highlights who brought Reggae history to Bagnols-sur-Cèze. After one more long break the final act of the Garance Reggae Festival 2010, Jah Cure, entered the stage. As with Tarrus Riley’s concert the previous night, it was a bit late and a lot of people already left the area. Jah Cure was quite slow and soft - not the best end to such a smooth and nice festival with such good vibes everywhere.

The departure from the festival people was unhurried. On Sunday a lot of people preferred to take a bath in the river, where again a Sound System played on the bank, before taking their ride home.

The Garance Reggae was definitely one of the best festivals this year in Europe. 35000 visitors came during the four days. The people, the location, the atmosphere and of course the music during the whole weekend was so gentle and familiar, that hopefully the history of the Garance Reggae festival will continue this way in the open air!

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Posted by max-i on 10.15.2010
Hammer!

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