As with Adstock (see below), I didn't take in a lot of the music this year - I was preoccupied with getting to see Kris Kristofferson on Saturday - but enjoyed hearing a ska band that afternoon covering the Specials' "Message to You Rudi," wafting on the wind to my apartment a block or so away. Today, I enjoyed Vancouver's Bounty Hunta, doing his thing with a DJ, and I appreciated that B. Kenyan, who spelled him, brought a bit of consciousness-raising to the event, sharing his dismay at the George Zimmerman verdict. (He also told a story of correcting a child's mis-association of Bob Marley with marijuana, and not peace, but I can't begin to do it justice). Truth is, I don't know jack about DJ culture or toasting or any of that - it's actually rather foreign stuff to me; my reggae knowledge basically amounts to spinning The Harder They Come soundtrack a few times a year - but it's still kind of pleasing to see people talking about Babylon and declaiming "Ja Rastafari" from a public bandstand in the midst of this highly straight, white, "what's-on-TV"-culture town. (Lord knows the musicians must find the culture clash as entertaining - and positive - as I do). Toronto reggae singer Steele, today's headliner, made a fun acknowledgement of the area's usual musical sensibilities, asking the crowd a few songs in, "so I hear you all like country music?" Lest you think he was mocking us, he followed this up by performing a surprising, highly entertaining, and totally sincere reggae version of Kenny Rogers' "She Believes In Me," which apparently he's recorded on his new album...
Delightful as that was, the high point of the fest was a wheezy little pug of amazing, instantaneous friendliness, who, when he saw me waving at him from where I sat, immediately ran over to me - owner in tow - to blow a light spray of dogsnot in my face, then crawled up onto my lap for affection. I love dogs, but I don't get to hang out with them much, so dogsnot or not, it was a treat.
Here are some photos of him, and of the rest of the fest - well worth attending, if you never have. See you in 2014.
Steele with Natural Flavas