Richie Stephens to headline Caribbean Festival 2008

PHILADELPHIA The authentic island sounds of reggae, roots international beat, hip-hop, gospel and creative dancing, complemented by a market place of Caribbean fashions and exotic cuisine are all highlights of the 22nd Annual Caribbean Festival.

A culturally rich celebration of 14 Caribbean islands will provide a day of wholesome family fun on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing located at Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

This freefestival of Caribbean culture, music, and food takes place on August 17, 2008 from Noon – 8:00 p.m.

The celebration is one of the festivals in the PECO Multicultural Series and part of the 2008 summer season at Penn’s Landing, presented by Independence Blue Cross.

The 2008 Caribbean Festival will feature Jamaican artist, Richie Stephens, as the headline performer for this year’s festival, hosted by The Jamaica Tourist Board. Richie Stephens is known as the man with Jamaica’s Golden Voice; a classic performer who has contributed to the development of Reggae music.

Stephens has a powerful sensuality that appeals to audiences all over the world. Richie made his stage debut at the age of eleven. He was discovered in the early 1990s by famed producer Jazzy B while on tour in London with Shabba Ranks. Whether appearing with Reggae greats as the late Dennis Brown or with the late R&B Legend Luther Vandros, Stephens is known to have audiences rocking and dancing in the aisles. In addition to music, he has also demonstrated his passion for humanitarian efforts.

Additional musical entertainment line-up will feature: Spoken Words Tramaine, the Washington, D.C. Popular Image Band, Calvary Belle Dancers, Reggae singer Pappy Dread, Trinidad Gospel Singer Rosalind Graves, US Virgin Islands Daga, Dureck, Haitian Dancers, Gospel Singer Shermaine Fields, Mafalda Kuumba Dancers and many more.

August 17th is The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s 121st Birthday. In celebration, the 22nd Annual Caribbean Festival will feature Timi Tanzania and Urban Shamans with a toe-tapping, hand-clapping and head-nodding drumming performance.

This year’s event will also feature the steel drum band, Philly Pantastic, along with a Caribbean Culture booth — Tings Caribbean — where one can feel, touch and sample “Tings” from the islands. A Caribbean Children’s Village – “Pickney Kannah” — will also be featured. A portion of the Walnut Street parking lot will also be sectioned off for a DJ dance party run by The Music Master and his Crew featuring a variety of international music.

Fragrant aromas will fill the Great Plaza as the vendors prepare a variety of tempting island cuisine for visitors to enjoy. The Caribbean fete will include escovitched fish and festival cakes, codfish fritters, Jamaican jerk-chicken and hard-dough bread, Jamaican Patties, curried goat and rice & peas, Trinidadian Roti, Rotisserie Roasted Corn, water coconut, cane, as well as refreshing island beverages.

At the Caribbean marketplace, visitors can browse displays of island fashions, souvenirs, and arts & crafts. In addition, the Caribbean Culture booth will compliment this year’s event with featured topics about Caribbean history, fashion and religion. For the youngest attendees, the Festival offers a Caribbean Children’s Village to teach children about the African-Caribbean culture awareness.

The Festival, presented by PECO and the Caribbean Festival Committee, now in its 22nd year, works to publicize the importance of the Islands and the cultural contribution of the Caribbean community to the Philadelphia region. Most importantly, the event raises scholarship funds for college students of Caribbean descent. For more information, please www.phillycaribbeanfestival.com.

Admission is FREE for all PECO Multicultural Series events. PECO presents a series of free Multicultural festivals throughout the summer season at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing.

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