Jah live in Jamaica - Musings from a "buck's weekend" and Smile Jamaica Concert

Spent the weekend at a buck’s night in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  Buck’s night is Australian for bachelor party.  We flew down Friday morning and were back for dinner Sunday.  All six of us on the trip had a phenomenal time, something not easily accomplished on these quick group getaways.  We logged some quality time at the pool/beach and ate some yummy home-cooked Jamaican meals courtesy of the lovely staff who worked at the home we rented.  The highlight of the weekend, however, was undoubtedly the Smile Jamaica Concert that we stumbled upon Saturday night.  After a few phone calls earlier in the day by one of the group who had some connections in the music biz, we spent the night as VIPs mingling with the Marley brothers and other celebs backstage.  Bob Marley died February 6, 1945 and this concert is held annually the same week in tribute.  The location was Nine Mile – a town in St. Ann parish, a solid 75 min from the coast in Northwest Jamaica.  It was not a touristy bunch.  In fact, we were some of the few tourists among the several thousand in attendance and virtually the only ones backstage, save a few photographers.   This made the night all the more special.  I’m still amazed that from a three-hour flight and two-hour drive, it’s entirely possible to experience extreme diversity of culture.   I think most of us felt like we were in some sort of dream most of the night, fully awestruck by the environment.  There is a lot about Jamaican culture that I find fascinating.  For instance, Bob’s 80–something year old mother sat sidestage until the final performer began at 4:15am!!  That's just not something I can imagine seeing in America.  I’ve also been intrigued by rastafarians since I discovered reggae around 6th or 7th grade, although it’s the type of lifestyle that I wasn’t convinced actually existed.  Well, guess what?….it does.

This photo is with the first guy we met at Nine Mile.  The second is backstage with some guys who sat there the entire show rolling these funny cigarettes.

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By Josh Guttman

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