The 15th staging of the Grace Jerk Festival in South Florida was one to remember. Patrons were treated to a cultural and musical feast that spanned three stages. The Main Stage lineup for 2016 featured artists chosen for their musical talent and also for the various eras of uniquely Jamaican sounds they represent. According to the festival’s organizers, the event was designed to promote an “endemic” part of Jamaica’s culture – food, music, custom – and share it with the world. To this end, the event provided opportunities to enjoy jerk foods, while the Main Stage featured Shaggy. The Cultural Stages highlighted the festival’s theme of “Celebrating the Caribbean” and showcased the diversity of the region. Shaggy thrilled the crowd on the main stage with hits like “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t’ Me.” LED screens gave concert goers excellent views of the star. Other artists featured on the Main Stage were Eric “Monty” Morris, a foundation artist of ska and rocksteady; Singing Melody, well known in lover’s rock and reggae, and Chaka Demus and Pliers. Even before reaching the Main Stage, however, patrons of the event were entertained on the Western Union Cultural Stage and the 411 Pain Fuzion Soundstage, which featured entertainers moving between them to provide the maximum level of entertainment. Singers included J-Stone and K-Charlez, as well as Yanique Sasha, Crys Alexandra and the E.L.E.M.E.N.T.S. The Caribbean theme was displayed in the performances of the Trinidadian Melo Groove Steel Orchestra, a children’s steel pan group, and the Carib Isles Dance Group with dancers from St. Kitts and Antigua. Storyteller Dr. Sue, a folklorist from Jamaica, captivated the crowd, and Junkanoo Revue brought an authentic Bahamian performance to the festival. Crowds came early and stayed late to enjoy every minute of Caribbean culture the festival had to offer. Here are some photo highlights from the Jerk Festival. See over 700 photos from the event on our facebook page.
Photos by Addy Chin