Las Vegas is more known for its high-end casinos, nightlife, entertainment, fine dining and wild activities. But, reggae fans had their weekend to rock on! On October 9th and 10th, Las Vegas hosted its first Reggae Rise Up.
It was so interesting to see reggae fans from all over the country gather together in the heart of Vegas!
Day One kicked off with reggae greats Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, Common Kings, The Movement, Iya Terra, Jesse Royal and Nattali Rize. Inna Vision, Kyle Smith and Pacific Roots also joined the much-awaited reggae Vegas party! The crowds quickly grew at each stage, with people walking back and forth between sets, all eager to experience this unique Reggae Rise Up.
Santa Cruz’s Pacific Roots started the party with their high energy and upbeat reggae jams. Afterward, Kyle Smith, the first band to take on the Rise Up Stage, drew up quite the crowd and blew us away with honest lyrics and a powerful fusion of reggae rock and punk melodies. This set was when I discovered just how powerful the sound at the festival was; I felt pretty literally blown by the music! Next up was Maui’s Inna Vision on the Vibe Stage, spreading nothing but aloha through his buoyant melodies. Then, a bright light took over the Rise Up Stage during midday, as Nattali Rize appeared for her set, moving the crowd with her compelling lyrics promoting positivity, unity and love. Looking at the audience, I spotted some tears flowing through smiling faces. You could tell just how mighty influential Nattali Rize is in the best way. Next, Jesse Royal took the Vibe Stage, who just released his second album Royal earlier this year.
As the sun was about to set, The Movement put on quite the show, not only with their heavy-hitting songs, but also with their epic stage visualizations!
It was beyond mesmerizing to watch their energy, along with beautiful video art onstage. Afterward, heading back to the Vibe Stage, Iya Terra started their set with an absolute bang and kept the energy radiating throughout. With their new album Ease & Grace out, it was super fun to watch them play their new songs live! Quite frankly, I felt like they should have graced the bigger stage with their presence, because it was just a fantastic set with their infectious smiles, guitar shreds and moves.
Night had finally arrived, as much-loved and longtime reggae group SOJA started up on the Rise Up Stage, sharing songs of the new highly-anticipated album Beauty In The Silence, which features exciting collaborations with other cherished reggae bands. Common Kings then kept the crowd dancing with their colorful personas, catchy beats, as well as Jr King’s soulful and fiery voice. Last, but not least, renowned Cali reggae band Slightly Stoopid (and many diverse collaborators) ended Day One, with every attendee singing and dancing throughout the entire set. They also had stunning visualizations, fitting for Las Vegas on top of their music.
Reggae Rise Up Festival offers a great mix of reggae and culture. Great food, arts and crafts, musical performances and an incredible lineup — you can’t get better than this! Overall, if you love reggae, you need to go to this festival! Likewise, if you love Vegas, you can’t go wrong with this festival! Stay tuned for Day Two coverage to come.
Photography by Sean McCracken & Olivia Valdes; Recap by Olivia Valdes