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Reggae Sun Ska 2010

Reggae Sun Ska 2010

Reggae Sun Ska 2010

By on - Photos by Michael Grein - Comment

France biggest Reggae festival at his 13th edition.

France biggest and oldest open air Reggae festival took place the 6th and 7th of August 2010. Famous reggae greats like U-Roy, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Groundation but also younger artists such as Chezidek, Jaqee and Tarrus Riley were present.

The 13th edition of Reggae Sun Ska moved this year from Cissac, Médoc few kilometers to Saint Sauveur, Médoc which is situated only 60 km from Bordeaux. The moving was because of too little space for 30 000 visitors at the old place. The new ground can perhaps accommodate more people but the place was kind of dismal. It was just a small village stadium without any trees and shade and a lot of dust in the air in these hot summer days. Event if it was too small, the camping ground in contrast was very nice, partly located in a wood.

It was a very crowded festival – around 46 000 people in two days. Many of the visitors weren’t apparently Reggae fans, they came just to make party. Reggae Sun Ska is known for accompanying the movement “Eco Sun Ska” since six years. This means that there are only dry toilets, biological food, waste separation and also shuttle buses for free from the train station to the festival and a lot more.

At the beginning of the Reggae Sun Ska 2010 many visitors were still waiting in front of the ticket box to get their tickets. After buying the ticket and accurate inspections of your bags it was possible to enter the huge festival area. A merchandise booth, two big bars and a small market place were placed at the edges and two big scenes side by side were in the front. All the bands played alternately on these two stages so that there were only short breaks between the concerts.

First day: Raggasonic, Alpha Blondy and Tarrus Riley…

The music program started on Friday with Mo’Kalamity & the Wizards. They played some quite good reggae, unfortunately for little people, because the gates were opened only short time before the beginning of the concert. Because of the long row in front of the gate and the late opening a fast entry wasn’t possible. Mo’Kalamity has a deep, remarkable voice with high recognition value and a beautiful exotic look. She sings against discrimination, exclusion and about other political themes. In fact, Mo’Kalamity & the Wizards played really well – too good for the first band of a festival! Mo’Kalamity was followed by Chezidek. He performed a song together with Lorenzo, who was there with Irie Ites Sound System. The massive knew his tunes Bun di Ganja and Call Pon Dem very well and were singing along with Chezidek.

Meanwhile the audience increased more and more. The next announced band was Raggasonic and people streamed to the stage, but with the following act a lot of changes in program happened - it wasn’t Raggasonic which played next. For the rest of the day nobody knew the real order of the bands and the timetable was invalid. Another bad thing was the combination of the heat, no shade and too much alcohol, so that some visitors who drank too much got knocked out.

Back to the program – instead of Raggasonic the Easy Star All Stars entered the stage which led to a run of the Raggasonic fans. Easy Star All Stars played a lot of Beatles and Pink Floyd songs in reggae versions. The next act was finally the high anticipated group of Raggasonic. The crowd was enormously big and again many fans squeezed themselves to the stage so it was nearly impossible to move anymore. The great, strong Ragga sound of Big Red and Daddy Mory is extremely powerful. They are on a great reunion tour after twelve years of separation! Raggasonic got one white and two black children onto the stage to show to the massive the real multicultural image of France and to sing against fascism with their song Faut Pas me Prendre Pour un Ane. The massive was enthusiastic!

The Original Wailers were up next. The three musicians of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Earl "Wya" Lindo, Al Anderson and Junior Marvin, performed some Bob Marley songs. In face of their great name they let the spirit missed and most of the time they were kind of subdued. This show was a little bit disappointing.

After a very long Intro, African reggae came upon the stage with Alpha Blondy. The first tune was the fantastic song Jerusalem. While the second song of the reggae legend from Ivory Coast it came to a complete loss of sound, after some technical problems. But Alpha Blondy took it relaxed and he continued in good mood and with much routine after 25 years of experience on stage. He sang a lot of his famous songs against discrimination and injustice in Africa like Politiki and Peace in Liberia and also his hit Cocody Rock. The visitors of the Reggae Sun Ska liked Alpha Blondy a lot; they celebrated together a fantastic concert. But unfortunately no photographers were allowed to take pictures.

A big musical difference followed after Alpha Blondy with The Aggrolites from California. Many people weren’t taken by this US-musicians and just little stayed in front of the stage. The Aggrolites played a lot of songs where people had to repeat some phrases, like A-G-G-R-O or Dirty Reggae.

For the last show of the day the audience filled up again. Many wanted to listen to Tarrus Riley and his exceptional singing accompanied by Dean Fraser at the saxophone. Tarrus Riley’s tunes made the people dance at the late hour.

Second day: Linval Thompson, Steel Pulse, Groundation…

At the second festival day the running order was according to the timetable. With The Jouby’s some rocksteady from France came upon the stage. They also had to play for a small audience – the fate of first bands of a festival day. Jaqee from Sweden with Ugandan origin did some soul-reggae at the early evening. Her great voice created really good vibes and the concert was fantastic. Kokoo Girl and Moonshine are just few examples of her special old school 70s sound. U-Roy, the legendary deejay from Jamaica, followed. His singing was accompanied by some perfect roots sound. U-Roy had great charisma on stage.

The fourth act of the day was the roots singer Linval Thompson. He presented his recent album 'Ghetto Living' and the best-of album 'Ride on Dreadlocks'. It was a pleasure for the audience to see him on stage. As he played the song Marijuana everybody was singing happily.

Then Steel Pulse came on stage. Many people had come to the festival only because of them. Their tunes Steppin’ Out, Chant a Psalm, Roller Skates and a lot more were celebrated enormously. The popular trio of The Abyssinians fascinated the audience after Steel Pulse. As always, their reggae was kind of mystical.

On this second day the area was again overcrowded. When you looked around in every direction you couldn’t see any ground – just people.
The next band was Groundation. They played their first concert in Europe from their Tribute to Bob Marley-Tour. The beginning was a bit subdued with Running Away and the bridge to Praisin’, the only Groundation song they played, they convinced the massives. The American group played Bob Marley songs in their own way - the typical jazzy Groundation style.

The final act of the festival was High Tone from France with some electro-dub. The sound was very crazy and mainly electric. This band was obviously for the party people and hadn’t much to do with reggae. Despite of it many people were dancing energetically.

Also during and after the concerts the festival visitors made big party at the Sound System area beside the camping ground. On Friday Dubmatix featuring Brother Culture, Irie Ites featuring Lorenzo and Lieutenant Foxy were up. On Saturday Own Mission featuring Takana Zion, Irie Crew and Digital Sound System got the vibe going and made big party. Unfortunately it wasn’t really possible to switch between the Sound System area and the main scene because the Sound Systems played outside the festival area and the gates and inspections were in between.

All in all many great musicians were on the stages, around 800 volunteers did a great job, but the festival itself was not that relaxed and nice. Maybe the Reggae Sun Ska is now too big for really good vibes and some smooth atmosphere - what should be on a good festival. The organizers are conscient of the problems from this edition and next year the festival location will change and could be limited to 20000 visitors.

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