The second day of Reggae Rise Up Florida was louder, more festive and started off with a bang, literally. Day Two fell on St. Patrick's Day and the holiday was in full effect. There's no questioning what day it was, and it's very visible through the waves of people rocking Mardi Gras beads, kilts, scally caps and Irish green-themed attire that it's gonna be wild one.
Day Two fell on St. Patrick's Day and the holiday was in full effect.
The morning started off with a friend making me cappuccino with whipped cream and a sunrise photoshoot of the Bay Area. Happy faces of dog walkers, joggers and bicyclists surround early morning Vinoy Park. It was pretty magical. After meeting up with music family, I gathered my gear and headed in. I found a hammock owned by one of the dudes of Cloud9 Vibes and set sail for relaxation island. Serenaded by the sound of seagulls, sound checks and the waves, I set my mind to my list of shots.
And it began: Cloud9 Vibes took the Vibe Stage to open the day up. These Jacksonville natives know exactly how to vibe and the stage was named perfectly. They mix funk, nasty raps, awesome originals as well as killer covers of crowd-pumping faves. All in attendance were "jumping around" like Kris Kross. After, I booked it over to the main stage to shoot local musician, activist, farmer, philanthropist and friend, Mister Badda Skat. Badda and his band are so well-liked in this area. When an artist has such a profound respect for the culture in which he has delved into, it shows.
...I ran headfirst into a ramp connecting the equipment truck to the stage.
This was when everything changes... While on stage shooting Mike Honcho, Badda's drummer, I ran headfirst into a ramp connecting the equipment truck to the stage. I have attached a photo of said ramp, lol. Long story short, I knocked myself out and when I came to, I was seeing four. It's okay to laugh, I still am. I crawled toward the outside bathrooms and opened the door. The mirror revealed that I looked like I had got into it with Layla Ali. I was informed that my best option was to go to the hospital and get checked out and not come back for the rest of the fest... So, I put a Band-Aid on instead...
I had to miss some of the main performances that I had anticipated seeing, but these things happen. I handed over my photo pass to a couple talented photographers and once I had consumed enough water, I jumped back in the photo pit. St. Pete natives NoNeed always show up and rock it! A band that straight slayed us all, Tropidelic is straight outta Cleveland, and freak nasty-ness was hard to avoid or ignore. The day was all sorts of awesome. Let's just say 'Trop' makes Rick James look silly. Be sure to check both of these bands out in a city near you, as they are both touring all summer long! Also, Tropidelic is hosting a two-day festival in Ohio this summer called Freakstomp and no one wants to miss all that weirdness.
Nothing could have made this day anything but otherworldly.
To get approval to shoot Damian "Jr Gong" Marley, I would have had to sell a kidney, so I opted out. Instead, I enjoyed the end of the night with friends and someone who has taught me endless amounts of things about this world, this life and forward-thinking – Badda Skat. As we left for the Airbnb, we just listened to the other concertgoers sharing their day's experiences – laughing, loving and genuinely enjoying each other. Nothing could have made this day anything but otherworldly. RRU Day 2 was amazing.
Photography by Jay Cohen; Jungle Man Sam photography by Russell Flax; Iya Terra photography by Jesse Asher; bandaged Jay Cohen photography by Southeast Reggae