Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest is in a class by itself. One of the only New York major park shows to showcase Caribbean foods and culture, New York natives know that the musical performances often take second place, but nevertheless at the 2018 staging, the performances shone with featured headline artists like Lust, Nigerian dancehall sensation Patorankin, Elephant Man, Hood Celebrity, Jahmiel, New Kingston, Ghanaian rapper and Highlife fusion artist, Delassie, Cultural flagbearers Braata, dance and drum group Asoso International and Septimus-gospel artist whose performance was worthy of headline status. Ably hosted by Jamaican personality and Anthropologist Dr. Kingsley “Ragashanti” Stewart, who managed the show’s timing and band changes professionally and with ease.
Record crowds filled the park in a carnival-like atmosphere and even intermittent showers did nothing to dispel the feel-good family fun day. Elephant Man showed once again why he is still on top of his game, providing great entertainment, at one point climbing on top of sound boxes to exhort the crowd to not be swayed by the rain and for a while the crowds heeded his hilarious commentary ‘not to let the rain rob them of their money’s worth’, but alas, with Monsoon type rain and heavy winds, those brave patrons who danced and sang along in the rain had to cede to the wild weather as a mass exodus took place. Despite the rain at the end of the evening, an enjoyable time was had by all.