The 10th Annual Jerk and Caribbean Culture Festival in Palm Beach lived up to it’s reputation as one of South Florida’s must-do events in the Caribbean community. This year’s event featured an expanded festival area and 2 stages of entertainment at the Meyer Amphitheatre in downtown WPB. The vendor area, second stage and Kid’s Village were on the street directly behind the Amphitheatre stage; and area previously not a part of the festival.
The food and merchandise vendors offered the usual and pleasing variety of foods and cultural merchandise. As usual, the artisans who design and produce the caps, dresses, jewelry and sandals; continue to produce unique designs in the colors of the flags of The Islands.
This year, the emphasis on Jerk seasoned foods was much less than in previous years. For example, I did not see any Jerk Ice Cream this year. There was however a nice variety of foods from both the English and Spanish speaking Caribbean. Patrons joined long lines at all of the food vendors despite the summer heat.
When it was time for the show on the Main Stage, the Code Red Band warmed up the crowd with easy crowd pleasers such as “…remember the times when we used to rock away…” Next, Half Pint kept the crowd on their feet. With hands and fists raised high, the crowd danced and sang along through his performance. Next came Freddy McGregor followed by Frankie Paul and Konshens. Both Freddy and Frankie kept the crowd dancing and singing along as they dropped the tunes that they are known and loved for.
While Konshens’ certainly had his fans within the crowd, those were definetly the younger people – say 25 and younger. There were droves of folks exiting When he was announced as up next. In fact, there was a change and Frankie came on first, causing many to stop just shy of the gate. It seems that many of the people who danced through the first few performances, were not impressed with one of the newest Dancehall Kings. This writer must admit that I am among those and I joined one of the exiting droves. Having listened to Konshens the previous day at Best of the Best in Miami, I was in no hurry to repeat the experience. I do however look forward to next year’s Jerk and Caribbean Culture Festival in WPB.