Negril Jamaica was a sight embedded in the nine mile stretch of beautiful white sand that laced the shore line and the breath taking view of a red sun setting into the horizon. It was there, between the island’s beauty and the cosmic grace that we found ourselves. Indeed if you weren’t present there’s no way to recapture the experience for you, however, after this review of the 3rd annual Rastafari Rootz Fest you will be sure not to miss the next one.
It was a breeding ground for ideas, knowledge and networking as red eyes explored tents, dry tongues sparked fires in the imagination and enlightened minds knocked at future’s door. The morning before the sun peaked in the sky the patrons flocked to the CLA’s informative seminars. Information, education and enlightenment pervaded as the CLA kicked off the days with seminars. Topics like the license approval criteria and the controversial alternative development AD programme were explained. The stake holders in the Cannabis industry, that the CLA is currently working assiduously to make functional, were also eager to understand the plans the CLA had set in motion. Much fascination radiated.
The deep roots that Ganja has in Jamaica would not be left wanting. Men and women stood up and sung that the preparations being made for the industry do not cater for Ganja as a sacrament to the Rastafarian faith. They firmly express that it is for the people and as such we would not be left in the shadows while corporations harvest the profit under the light of the law. Synonymous to the intro of the Chronixx song, “Perfect Tree” we can’t only accept one part of the plant hence the voices spoke out about recognising the other aspects of the Ganja culture.
All the while word of the event caused more and more guests to discover the little nook the Rastafari had carved out on the Negril beach. With herbs rolled and lighters equipped they took to the festivities with haste, some already “unda a vibes” and some using the opened mind to facilitate in deep conversations. After the sun had set and all that needed to be said had been heard, the crowd united with a singular focus as the sands began to shift and the breeze off the ocean caught a chill which tickled the skin. The steady beat of drums and chanting of the rastaman drew us to the stage where Ras Iyah V and Mutabaruka the famous barefooted African/Jamaica drew us in with his unique accent. After which the beach was brought to life. Baselines became the heartbeat and musical lyrics its thoughts, while every man and woman became the muscles to move. And move they did, like festivals of our ancestors who danced circles around bonfires, so too did the patrons frolic with no one watching but the stars above. The atmosphere was refreshing, liberating, and the dance was the very same.
Mingling through the night we came across the creative minds pushing the cannabis industry many of whom had been working for years in secret. The vision for the industry is a large one indeed. Many already have international networks coordinating projects all over the world. Events like Rootz Fest are facilitating communication with all the stake holders in the industry and opening the dialogue for issues that arise. The voices of the spiritual mingled in discussion with those involved in driving Ganja towards commercialization.
The crowd got bigger as the days went on, more energetic performances with each night and the diverse selection of artist guaranteed everyone’s enjoyment. Rootz Fest is definitely an event to be marked on your calendar. It is a must have experience for anyone whether you’re a native or a tourist, user of cannabis or not. The theme is centred on healing and enlightenment, and edification is a core interest behind these events. The promoters incorporated the education seamlessly into the function which is something to highlight about all the ganja events so far. There is always a forum for disseminating information; however, it would be hard to deny that the stage shows really stole the day. The performances were full of energy and got the crowd moving in harmony with the artists as they cheered the festivities along, sparking spliffs and “unda a vibes”. We were carried by the music into the early morning.