By Ayana Allen
Last year, Mother Nature brought rain, but this year’s gift was sweltering heat at the third annual Brooklyn Music Festival at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York on Independence Day (Sunday, July 4). Early in the day the show featured local artists and classic reggae musicians, including the legendary Marcia Griffiths (also known as the “Queen of Reggae”). She performed many of her original songs, covered a few Bob Marley tracks and then ended with “Electric Boogie,” inviting guests on the stage to dance with her. She was followed by Gregory Isaacs, Barrington Levy and Tanya Stephens, each of whom had reggae fans on their feet dancing and singing along to some of their biggest hits.
New York’s musical prodigy and hit-making producer Ricky Blaze hit the stage early in the day with his explosive hit “Just You and I” (which borrows Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh” riddim) and “Feel Free,” the blazing product of his collaboration with Ron Browz, Red Cafe and Nicki Minaj.
As the sun set and the fireworks sparked in the distance, the tempo picked up and a host of dancehall artists trickled out, from Assassin and Lady Saw to Shabba Ranks (who was Fabolous’ replacement after he dropped out less than a week before the show).
Shaggy took his operated like a true headliner, blazing through many of his throwback hits, including “Mr. Boombastic,” “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.” Between crooning to the ladies with his deep voice, he lectured them on how to manage their love lives and relationships. His advice brought smiles to many of the attendees who weathered the temperatures.
Unfortunately, advertised performer B.o.B never made it to the festival’s stage (allegedly due to timing issues), yet the audience was bellowing out the words to his hit song “Nothin’ on You” throughout the day anyway. It perfectly encapsulated the vibe of the day, as even though the heat was oppressive, nothing could stop the Brooklyn natives and reggae fans from enjoying the show.