March 16, 2019 marks the date that international music star, Buju Banton filled Jamaica’s National Stadium for one of the largest concerts on the island (allegedly) since Bob Marley’s One Love Peace concert in 1978. People flying into Kingston this weekend hailed from New York to Nigeria and booked out all of Kingston‘s major hotels. The crowd of over 30,000 attendees was met at the stadium gates by packs of the usual salesmen offering bandanas to wave and Buju Banton flags to carry. The police presence at the venue could compare to that of a parade in any metropolitan city. Roads were blocked off to facilitate the traffic and shuttles carried people to the stadium as early as 4pm.
The scene inside was colorful and chaotic as security, staff, and concert-goers tried to find their positions in prep for the show. The lawn was reserved for the VIP and a small section of that was fenced off for the VVIP ticket-holders. By 6pm the bleachers were already peppered with hundreds of people and the sound of plastic horns could be heard from far. DJ Bobby Konders played tunes until the show was ready to start. Many musicians and dancers touched the stage throughout the night. Luminaries such as Marcia Griffiths and Beres Hammond were among them. Here are some of the best moments from Buju Banton’s concert shot by me, Jeana Lindo.
7. Wayne Marshall brought a choir with him to open the show. Their beautiful harmonies and movements blessed the venue.
6. Ghost put on an energetic performance in eccentric fashion, removing his sunny yellow jacket to reveal a black and gold sequined vest. His high-pitched covers and nostalgic dance moves were something to see.
5. When veteran artiste Cocoa Tea welcomed Koffee on stage, he introduced the teen as “the biggest female sensation out of Jamaica.” Cheers resounded as she took the mic and performed her song “Raggamuffin” for the huge audience.
4. Throughout his set, Chronixx shared his reverence for the power of reggae music, the motive that brought all these people together. “Lemme see all a di people dem from round the world no matter where you from, make some noise.” He extended his hand to the crowd and said “THIS is reggae music from Jamaica!” When he was singing about where he born and come from (Spanish Town), he raised his arms to the sky.
3. “Hear me when I say Put your lighters in the air, put your lighters in the air if you know yuh heart clean like a whistle” – phones illuminating the crowd as Chronixx performed his song “Clean Like a Whistle”
2. The king, Buju Banton, made his grand entrance onto the stage as dark, dramatic music was played by live instruments. He donned a pristine, white suit and his first song for the night was “Lamb of God.” However, he quickly brought out his fun persona and jumped around the stage as if he had not aged. In the moment captured here, Buju was doing some pelvic thrusts as the crowd screamed with excitement.
1. Beres Hammond and Buju Banton were cracking up as they performed together at the end of the night. The dear friends missed one another and jokingly did impressions of each other.
Words and photos by Jeana Lindo