Calgary ReggaeFest: Bringing Cultures Together Under the Reggae Banner

Reggae Fest 2016This summer the Calgary International Reggae Festival (ReggaeFest) will be inviting some newcomers to Calgary to celebrate the sounds and cultures of Reggae together. The festival kicks off August 18 at noon at Olympic Plaza with a free noon hour concert followed by a free evening workshop and documentary movie screening in the community of Deer Ridge.
Under the banner of ‘Uniting Cultures through Reggae Music’, the annual festival is offering complimentary passes to new Calgary families and some financially challenged families who may want to join in the celebration.
“Initially, we were discussing tickets to just refugee families, to try to help integrate them into the fabric of our city’s mosaic, but we understand we’re also in a tough economy, and still have many new families moving to our city,” says ReggaeFest producer Leo Cripps. “What better way to help out and show Calgary’s spirit of giving than to invite them to come and enjoy some of the city’s festivities,” Cripps continues.
The festival will be sponsoring up to 50 families to the paid event on August 19 and 20 at Shaw Millennium Park.
Last year ReggaeFest suffered a major financial set back due to bad weather and was in major doubt if there would be a festival this year. Through the generosity of its supporters, the festival is set to present an incredible line up of performers. On August 19 and 20 Shaw Millennium Park will come alive with Reggae sounds from across Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the United States and Jamaica
“We are excited to share our event with people who are new to the city,” says ReggaeFest VP, Tara Andrews. “We have already offered tickets through several cultural communities and will be offering more through several local charities and cultural organizations.”

ReggaeFest is a not-for-profit society celebrating its 13th year and is supported by all three levels of government.


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Aktivate is a Calgary-based Reggae band led by a Jamaican-Canadian who has been creating and performing songs for many years. They have shared the stage with some of Jamaica’s greatest performers such as Culture, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Shaggy, and the Wailers. Aktivate has been absent from the stage for some years but is looking forward to performances and releasing songs for the world to enjoy and be introduced to its style of rhythm and lyrics. The Music reflects the band’s outlook on life and concern for all People. With a wish for peace, unity, and justice.


Anthony Cruz is a singer, songwriter and producer. Cruz’s versatility is demonstrated as his music explores themes of love, culture and real-life experience. His soulful voice and classy attire have many people referring to him as a truly charismatic entertainer. Anthony Cruz is bringing his soulful voice to the ReggaeFest stage promoting his 5th studio album “INNA DI DANCE.”  The 12 Track Album is a nice mix of lover’s rock, spiritual and dancehall styles.


Chester Miller (reggae/dancehall performer, songwriter) hails originally from Mandeville, Jamaica and today resides in Toronto, Canada. Chester is blessed with a remarkable voice which has earned him several Canadian Reggae Music Awards including Top male performer, Top male vocalist and Top Reggae Album award for his album “Never let Jah go”, and a Juno nomination. 
Since the 1980’s he has been a mainstay in the Canadian Reggae music scene performing at countless gigs and festivals alongside renowned artists such as, Ernest Ranglin, Steel Pulse, Third World, Judy Mowatt and Freddie McGregor to name a few. 
Chester is a very accomplished, authentic and original songwriter. Chester’s most recent collection of tracks is entitled ‘EQUANIMITY’.


De Bruces a Mi are a Colombian Reggae band that has been performing in Latin America for 16 years and performed with Reggae music heavyweights Capleton, Barrington Levy, Tanya Stephens, Black Uhuru, Andrew Tosh and Damian Marley. Their music is a unique showcase of Colombia’s cultural diversity – an eclectic mix that blends Jamaican rhythms with salsa, calypso, and the champeta music native to their region. They are a very dynamic 7-piece band that will have everyone happy and dancing, and absolutely lovely people looking to connect with and learn about new people and places.


Dubwise is a Calgary-based Reggae, Ska, funk and soul-fusion band. Dubwise will keep you dancing by playing a wide range of everyone’s favorite Reggae classics as well as original music written by Supa Cee.


ReggaeFest’s House Backing Band.


Glen Washington is a true veteran of Canadian Reggae Music, a multi-talented performer whose raspy voice and smooth delivery has been compared to the likes of Beres Hammond. With the release of over forty singles and eleven albums in four years, Washington has established himself as not only a talented singer, but also as a gifted songwriter who pens his own songs. Washington’s career, which spans over 25 years, has seen him play in the bands that have backed artists such as Leroy Sibbles, Shinehead, Junior Reid, Gregory Isaacs, Sister Carol and the Meditations.


Kafinal, Canada’s Festival King, is returning with his crown to the Calgary International ReggaeFest stage. A rising star on the Canadian Reggae scene and fresh off his 2016 Reggae Recording of the Year Juno win, Kafinal is thrilled to be returning to ReggaeFest to put on a show for Rastagarians. Kafinal is an exciting and engaging performer with a great sense of humor.


Mello Man (aka Mr. Sweet Voice) is one of the most authentic reggae singers in western Canada. Now based in Winnipeg, Mello Man started his singing career in 1989 with the Jah Vibes band at the Black-o-Rama festival’s tribute to Bob Marley. He has toured with many major reggae artists, such as Third World, Frankie Paul, and Chevelle Franklin. Mello Man is known as one of Canada’s best new artists in terms of Lovers’ Rock and Roots. Mello has recently released his debut album entitled “Child of the Universe”.


Mr. Fantastik is a Ghana-born reggae and dancehall artist who fuses African and Jamican influences and blends them with a stage show that needs to be seen to believe. A former circus performer and acrobat, it’s not unusual to see Mr. Fantastik show off his skills in African music, dance, acrobatics and even a fire show!


Nana McLean is a Reggae Music veteran, legend and ambassador. On par with reggae’s leading women like Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley, and Diana King, Nana’s career is highlighted with numerous awards, nominations, presentations and recognition from such organizations as the Canadian Black Music Association and the Canadian JUNO Awards. Her 1997 album, NANA McLean – COLLECTOR’S SERIES, won JUNO for Best Reggae Recording.


Razor B is an emerging Reggae and dancehall artiste who launched his career independently. A truly new age artiste, Razor B has earned his spot on the reggae dancehall charts. His growing success is a grassroots effort and the quality of Razor B’s music speaks for itself; Razor’s latest single “We Party!” cracked the Caribbean Top 10 and his single “Hot Up” is trending in both Canada and the Caribbean.


Tasman Jude is a red hot Canadian Reggae band based out of Grande Prairie, Alberta whom, since their last ReggaeFest performance in 2014, have toured Canada and Australia twice! Travelling thousands of miles and performing hundreds of shows over the past two years, Tasman Jude has been honing their performances, gaining thousands of fans worldwide and putting out new music regularly. Their second full-length album Green topped the Canadian Reggae Charts on iTunes and their third full-length feature Gold is available soon.


Since they came together in 2008, The Human Rights have built a reputation as one of Canada’s top reggae bands — specializing in original, high-energy, modern roots reggae with a mix of jazz, funk and R&B influences. “The Rights” are fronted by Friendlyness (Culture Shock, Big Sugar) and Juno nominee Tréson on lead vocals; and feature a blazing 3-piece horn section, two stellar guitar players, and a rock steady riddim section, topped off by legendary reggae keyboardist Bernie Pitters (Toots and the Maytals, Hit Squad, Leroy Brown, Sly & Robbie) on the one drop. They have toured western Canada and have been featured in numerous major festivals including the Calgary Reggae Festival, Toronto’s Irie Fest, Jambana, Nathan Phillips Square, International Festival of Beer and the Winnipeg Ska/Reggae Festival.


The Lost Lemons from Calgary AB are a bombardment of catchy and high-energy ska-reggae-rock. Paying homage to the glory days of Long Beach Punk, the band lays down a healthy set list of peppy originals and classic covers, keeping dance floors moshin’ and jammin’. The Lost Lemons have that friendly, do-no-harm kind of sound – the sound that once upon a time we listened to on our Discmans – embodying the youthful and vigorous spirit that good times are made of.


Uno is a reggae band formed by three young Venezuelan men, Juan Antoni (drums/voice), Pedro Acosta (lead guitar/voice) and Arturo Rondon (guitar/voice). The Calgary-based band is well established on the local music and festival scene. They’ve played Fiestaval and Expolatino. 2016 will be Uno’s second appearance on the ReggaeFest stage.


Warrior King’s compositions have consistently charted not only in his native Jamaica, but throughout the entire Caribbean, New York, California, London, Tokyo, and beyond. “A Friend Indeed” received heavy rotation in Jamaica, while “Jah Is Always There” was a summer smash on Atlanta’s More Fire chart. The inclusion of “Never Go Where Pagans Go” on VP Records’ compilation set “Reggae Gold” further raised the artist’s public persona. Tracks like “Virtuous Woman,” “Can’t Get Me Down” and other compositions have built the foundation of Warrior King’s reputation, a reputation that further grew after U.S. President Barack Obama cited Warrior King as one of his favourite musical talents. Warrior King has four internationally acclaimed albums, entitled “Virtuous Woman”, “Hold the Faith”, “Love is in the Air”, and “Tell Me How Me Sound”. “Now the conscious singer has released his newest full-length album entitled “The ROOTZ WARRIOR.”  Each song featured has a different style and the message emphasizes Purity, Truth, Strength, and Love. ”