Gettin' dready with it
The Ninth Annual Bob Marley Festival Tour rolls into town this weekend, and one thing is for sure - that cloud hovering over Tucson isn't from all the VW exhaust.
So head on down to Pima County Fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday where over 17 different rasta bands and hundreds of reggae fans will be packed in to celebrate and remember Marley's achievements in the fields of music, world peace and ecology. Not to mention hear some great music and have a real high time in the process.
Starting in Houston, the tour travels to about 20 cities each year spreading Bob's message of peace, unity and one love. Over the last nine years, the tour has hit over 30 cities in the US and abroad. This will be Tucson's sixth year as a festival tour stop.
Every year, a theme (taken from one of Bob's songs) is selected for the festival, designed to celebrate world music while promoting cultural and spiritual unity. This year's chosen theme is Redemption.
The bands participating in this year's festival come form all over the globe. There will be approximately nine one-hour performances scheduled for Saturday, with another 11 bands set to take the stage on Sunday.
Saturday's show will kick off at 3 p.m. with the musical stylings of a worldbeat band from Ghana, Africa called Wan-African featuring Kwame. Other acts Saturday include Dele Mandeyah, a roots-reggae group from Kingston, Jamaica a groove-reggae band from New Orleans called Dawtas of Jah, Gypsi Fari, a Chicago-based reggae band, and one of Tucson's own purveyors of Jah, Neon Prophet.
The music kicks up again at 11 a.m. Sunday when 11 performers are scheduled to appear. Artists include a Native American Reggae troop from Peach Spring, AZ called Tribal War, Azumah Matiko, a drum group from South Africa, two party-reggae bands hailing from Phoenix called Rasta Farmers and Grantman & the Island Beat, the roots-reggae sounds of Aswah Gregory from Jamaica, as well as One Blood, a roots-dance group from here in Tucson.
Both nights of music will conclude with the Redemption Finale featuring all bands and festival participants in an all-out worldly jam melting these amazing sounds from across the globe into one musical medley.
The festival's performers include not only reggae bands but also various dance troupes, jugglers and poetry readings. There will also be a Playscape area for children featuring games, rides and Native American storytellers. As in previous years, the tour will also feature Caribbean, African and Third World arts and crafts along with some mouth-watering edibles from these regions.
In addition to the entertainment, the celebration will also feature a Blue Mountain Climbing exhibit set up by Rock Solid Promotions. There will also be a drum circle each day and the public is encouraged to bring their drums and join in.
Admission to the festival is a $5 donation or $5 worth of non-perishable food items. This year's tour is focusing on homelessness and all donations will benefit the Highland School and Desert Survivors.