by Howard Campbell
[MIAMI] – Frustrated with COVID-19 restrictions, fans across the United States have been clamoring for a return to live music. It was no surprise that hundreds of them turned out on January 2 for the Reggae Jam Festival at Oasis Wynwood.
An estimated 2,500 patrons were at the trendy Miami location to watch headliners Inner Circle and The Wailers. They were supported by Jemere Morgan and other local acts.
That the event attracted a near full house was satisfying for Abebe Lewis, who led the promotion of Reggae Jam Festival.
“The turnout was amazing. Over 2,000 people! The response was amazing; real reggae music, real instruments and players. The crowd was so diverse… black, white, Spanish, young, old. Jamaicans, Haitians. There were so many cultures,” he said.
Inner Circle and The Wailers have been around since the 1960s. Prior to the global COVID-19 lockdown, they were among the best touring reggae bands.
Since 2020, the lockdown has forced cancellation of the European summer reggae festival circuit from which many Jamaican acts earn most of their income. Last year saw a spattering of live reggae events in Florida, Texas and California.
Reggae Jam Festival is promoted by Inner Circle bassist Ian Lewis. First held in 2018, previous shows featured Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, Mykal Roze and Steel Pulse.
The 2021 show was cancelled because of COVID-19.