Bob Marley t-shirts? Check. Dreadlocks? Check. Great music? Check.
Last night, Reggae on the Mountain brought a variety of move-inducing music to Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center (239 S. Main St.) – from classic reggae to jazz-infused tunes to authentic Jamaican music, which one listener described as something that “sounds like alien music,” Utah’s hippies gathered in a cozy nook of the Gallivan Center to drink beer, jam to the music and, judging from the smell, smoke weed – even though it was out of sight.
Bands and musicians such as Twisted Roots, DJ Roots Rawka, Dub Tonic Kru and Don Carlos, who has headlined Bob Marley Day festivals in the past, performed music before intimate crowds of about 200 people, with only about twenty people in front of the stage. But where the crowd lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm. People of all ages, from toddlers with Dora the Explorer backpacks to the teens with long dreadlocks to the aged men and women bobbing in the crowd, donned their tie-dyed tees, socks and even spandex to celebrate reggae music at its best.
Vendors at the festival sold jewelry adorned with designs of marijuana leaves, hippie wear, tie-dyed apparel (for those who may have forgotten to bring their own), lighters featuring Bob Marley’s face and other collectibles.
Down-to-earth performers, some of whom declared they would not perform until people were on their feet and in front of the stage, created a friendly environment where it felt like everybody could get along – the young and the old, the hip and yes, the not-so-hip.
I don’t listen to a lot of reggae, and I have certainly not heard it played live, but once I was there amongst crazed fans, the vibe was intoxicating and I couldn’t help but bounce along with the music – or as Bob Marley put it, “Hey Mister Music, sure sounds good to me/I can't refuse it, what to be got to be/Feel like dancing, dance cause we are free.”