Wanna lead a blessed existence full of irie vibes? Simply abide by these nine Rasta-approved rules of conduct and you shall bask in the radiant glory of the Zion Lion: (1) Grow that ganja; (2) get dreaded; (3) praise Jah; (4) start an Ital diet; (5) smoke that ganja; (6) listen to lots of reggae music; (7) rock a touch of red, green, and gold on the regular; (8) share that ganja; and (9) make a pilgrimage to the Nine Mile Music Festival.
Now in its 19th consecutive season, the Bob Marley Movement of Jah People's annual reggae fest will descend upon the Magic City this weekend to shake its mane, spark a spliff, and celebrate the immortal legacy of its late leader by jamming right, "doing good, and spreading love."
Still known to the people on the streets as Marley Fest or even the Carribean Music Festival, this 12-hour jam-rock sesh was renamed last year in honor of Bob's birthplace, Nine Mile, a small country town tucked away amid St. Ann Parish's emerald green Dry Harbour Mountains on Jamaica's north coast.
Nine Mile Music Festival
Nine Mile Music Festival: With Stephen, Damian, and Julian Marley, Burning Spear, Capleton, Wale, Cocoa Tea, Tarrus Riley, Collie Buddz, Kevens, and Khevs. 1 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Beach Dr., Key Biscayne; 305-960-4600; virginiakeybeachpark.net. Tickets cost $49.87 to $166.50 plus fees via ninemilemusicfestival.com. Four canned goods are also required for admission.
And this year, there's been another shift in the order of things: The festival will no longer get up, stand up at Downtown Miami's Bayfront Park. Instead, the dreadheads are gonna gather on the sands of Virginia Key Beach Park, which organizers say, "offers what the fans want... a bigger venue, easier parking, longer hours to enjoy the music."
But even transplanted across the Rickenbacker Causeway, Nine Mile 2012 remains righteous, starring three of Bob's sons — Stephen, Damian, and Julian — alongside reggae legends Burning Spear, Capleton, and Cocoa Tea as well as Wale, Tarrus Riley, Collie Buddz, Kevens, and Khevs.
It's time to roll up, roll out, and go catch those irie vibes.
Stephen, Damian, and Julian Marley. Can you imagine a Marley Fest without the Marleys? Well, luckily, we won't have to confront that kind of strange and shocking scenario. Because even though Stephen, Damian, and Julian stunned Jah people around the world by announcing on February 23 that they "[would] not be attending or performing at the 9 Mile Music Festival due to circumstances beyond their control," (i.e. a recent legal dispute over the family name with festival organizer and Bob's half-brother Richard Brooker), the Marley bros are back on the bill. It's a Nine Mile miracle!
Wale. Now a member of Rick Ross's blinged-out Maybach Music crew, this "Ambition"-riding, "White Linen"-wearing, "Chain Music"-making rapper doesn't exactly jive with the rest of Nine Mile's Rasta-centric roster. But born to Nigerian parents in our nation's capital, Wale (AKA Olubowale Victor Akintimehin) began his career in the mid-'00s by spitting pseudo-conscious verses. Maybe he needs a vacay from the hustle.
Kehv. Hailing from the same spot as the original Buffalo Soldier (i.e., Bob Marley) and now crooning out of Fort Lauderdale, Khev is the self-described "Prince of Reggae Soul" whose wide-ranging catalogue includes tunes such as "Love Slave," "Distant Lover," and "Real Love." His number one influence: "God."
Tarrus Riley. Meet Mr. Superman. He's the son of classic ska singer Jimmy Riley, a founding member of the BLAKSOIL (Bredren. Living. As. King. Selassie. Overstanding. Irritical. Livity) movement, and the creator of Contagious, a collection of reggae tunes that he has described as "much better than the swine flu."
Capleton. This 44-year-old dancehall singer and MC has many monikers — King Shango, Fyah Man, the Prophet. But FYI, don't call him by his birth name, Clifton George Bailey III. That's a slave label forced onto his African ancestors by evil European colonizers. If you shout, "Hey, Clifton!," he will unleash 400 years of i-ternal fire on your ass.
Cocoa Tea. Sometimes called mate de coca, cocoa tea is a beverage made by boiling cocaine-laced erythroxylum leaves in water. The effect: a nice, natural buzz. Of course, this particular Cocoa Tea (koh-koh tay), is Calvin George Scott, a Kingston-born reggae singer, songwriter, and DJ who has written sweet, sweet dancehall jam-jams about everything from "Rikers Island" to "Biological Warfare" and "Barack Obama."
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Kevens. Not to be confused with Kehv, this Miami Beach-based musician, performance artist, and actor is Kevens (kee-venz), the man behind 2010's We Are One. His motto: "Positivity is a necessity!"
Collie Buddz. Born in New Orleans, raised in Bermuda, and mentored by Shaggy, this dancehall dude (né Colin Harper) is such a huge fan of herb that he named himself after it. In fact, he might even marry his marijuana. As he says on "Sensimillia," his 2007 love song to unfertilized female pot plants: "Be faithful, brotha man/Be faithful to ya herbs... Me say all day, all night, right round di clock/Notify di weed man tell em have it in stock."
Burning Spear. Can you believe that we almost missed out on Burning Spear? Last month via Facebook, this 67-year-old roots master got into a crazy feud with California reggae distributor Ernie B. over alleged piracy, saying, "They bootlegging all of our music and trying to use the police to get us arrested. Time to unite — it's our music that feed them." Next, he was threatening to go into self-imposed exile. Thankfully, though, he chilled out, hired a lawyer, and decided to keep his commitment to the people of Miami 'cause "Burning Spear never cancel a show."
It was close. But the Spear is gonna show up. As the old Rastaman himself would say, Jah is real.