Festival Season is back!
It’s needless to say that spring of 2020 was the beginning of a strange season for the world. 2021 has come to a promising start as our country is gradually opening up.
Florida has been one of the first states to reopen for public gatherings and I had the privilege to once again enjoy the Spring Break Reggae Fest at Jerry’s Tiki Bar at Ponce Inlet by Brian Lion Productions! This family friendly fest normally goes on at the end of March every year and it resumed its run on its 10th year, headlined by Fortunate Youth’s front-man, Dan Kelly and Tribal Seeds’ drummer Jamie “Zebb”. It was opened by the best in Florida’s reggae scene and hosted by Kulcha Shok’s legendary MC, “Lance-O” O’Brien.
For Dan and Zebb, this headline closed a successful post pandemic small national tour, which is the beginning of many more with their respective bands.
The reggae community has been known to be among the most tight knit in the music world and this fest was like a family reunion. While some took safety precautions as needed, the energy felt as if the pandemic never existed.
I had the pleasure of speaking to the wonderful crew behind this fun event. Lance-O, Founder, MC, of KulchaShok Muzik took some time to share his thoughts.
AW: How has the last year and these strange times affected you, how did you handle all the uncertainty?
Lance-O: I hear too much negative about the last year. I found soo much positive. I will start there were only 2 negatives: being stuck in Nicaragua for 180 days & being away from my son for that long. The other was financially, it was a challenge and I think this was too much of the focus. Money does not make me happy. I ended up getting to live the life I actually wanted while in Nicaragua. Living free of stress, anger & doing it with a clear mind. I got to surf every day, delve deep into my music, learn about myself, eat off the land and get creatively musical by writing songs and explore & initiate musical ideas. It wasn’t until I returned to Miami that I felt any stress, anger and financial stress. There wasn’t any uncertainty in Nica, just when was I going home. I didn’t worry about things there. I just took each situation as it came without thinking about it too much. When I did get home I did have to figure what to do to support myself and my family. So I had to go into work mode and couldn’t surf like I did in Nicaragua.
AW: What is in store for Kulcha Shok for the foreseeable future?
Lance-O: So many of the ideas I started in Nica got started when I returned home, since I had my resources to make those happen.
So I continued my musical journey. A few of those are three riddims I have coming out with several artists on each riddim. The first one was inspired by an acapella tune I received & liked so much. I built a track around it. That is the final stages.
Kulcha Shok has 2 other riddims that we are currently working on that will include RAs Kokay who we are working with on an album as well. We will be doing music videos for the songs.
We started a weekly podcast that is an extension of our weekly blog called ‘Shok Wave.’ It has the same name and is another platform for promoting new muzik & new artists. It is available on our blog page KulchaShok.com/blog every week. It posts there first. It also available on all podcast platforms from the majors like Spotify, Apple, Amazon to the small guys and all your favorite platforms for podcasts.
When the lock down happened we started our live Reggae Sundays on KulchaShok radio (KulchaShok.com/radio) and we just celebrated our one year anniversary at our live on location monthly Reggae Sundays at Tacos & Tattoos in Kendall (South Miami) at 11790 SW 104th St, Miami, FL 33186 6pm – 10pm every last Sunday of the month. Extended hours are coming and they just got a full liquor license.
We are also doing Reggae Rise Up, Nature Coast fest, Reggae at the Rock and have a concert with Collie Buddz in Oct as well. More to come and we are in discussions with Sugar Shack Sessions where the two of will be collaborating.
Lastly, since we lost our home for Reggae Sundays we are currently looking for a new home/venue. We have had offers and looking at lots of venues. We have found several we would like to do musical events, just have to wait until they are ready. Two are being considered for Reggae Sundays as well. There’s lots more just can’t talk about too much more.
My night ended with some words from Brian Groff – head of Brian Lion Productions:
Brian Groff: 10 years is very important in the history of the event and all the musicians and band who have been a part of it it’s just amazing and how it’s grown over the years and how this year there was just so much love shown.
This year was definitely the biggest year we had over 1200 people and so many people from the music scene got involved and showed so much love that it made the event amazing. I think people are really wanting and needing to get out and be together and hear music and share that experience.
The talent of the bands that we had was on a different level we had some really talented bands we always do but this year was a special lineup. The crew that puts it all together has really done a great job there’s a lot of people that worked hard.
The festival had many surprise guests such as The Movement’s Gary Dread, Peter Dante, Rob-D of Part One Tribe, and many more making this an unforgettable reggae night.
If you’re missing live music, please make sure to enjoy it responsibly. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing if necessary and make sure to stay home if you feel sick.