Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center is proud and excited to produce the Charlemont Reggae Festival at the Charlemont Fairgrounds on Saturday August 20th, now in its 25th iteration after missing two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Billed as “The Charlemont Reggae Festival: Rooted in Love and Positivity,” it is New England’s longest-running reggae festival, with artists EarthKry, King + Crown Prince, Rhythm Inc., Woody & The Rebel Alliance, The Equalites, Rebelle, SoulKeys, and many more on the 2022 lineup. In memory of the festival’s founder Ras Jahn Bullock, who passed away in 2017, the festival will continue to bring local and national acts to the picturesque town of Charlemont. Tickets are $50 in advance/$60 day of show and can be purchased at this link. Gates open at 11 a.m. and music starts at noon.
The Hawks and Reed team shares, “There’s no question that the world is a very different place since our last event in 2019. We’ve been through a pandemic, countless acts of violence, and now another war over power. We have missioned this event as a call for love and unity. We need each other, always – but now more than ever. Come join us!”
The headlining act at this year’s Charlemont Reggae Festival is EarthKry, a rising Roots-Rock-Reggae band from Jamaica. “Much like the iconic reggae outfit The Wailers, the band chose its name, EarthKry, to signify its mission to voice the grievances of the downtrodden through the vibrations of their legacy music. Since 2013 the band has spent much of their time creating music with other notable artists […] and have toured extensively on some of the biggest international stages.
Other bands that make up this year’s lineup are local heroes ReBelle, Rhythm Inc., Woody & the Rebel Alliance, Green Island, WheelOut, The Equalites, and more.
There will also be vendors and food trucks on site.
The story of the Charlemont Reggae Festival begins in 1978 when Bob Marley invited Ras Jahn Bullock and his band Loose Caboose to record at the legendary Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Grateful for the incredible opportunity, Ras Jahn sought to pay that blessing forward by focusing on local and regional reggae talent at an outdoor festival.
The first Charlemont Reggae Festival took place August 17th, 1985 and featured Boston-based reggae bands African Roots, The New Lions and ZionIntation in addition to Ras Jahn’s Loose Caboose. At that time there was no pavilion at the fairgrounds and the simple stage consisted of two long flatbeds put together with a very large blue tarp over them in case it rained. The festival picked up again in 1995 when former ZionInatation keyboard player Abdul Baki moved to the Charlemont area and worked with Ras Jahn to organize the annual event. Over time the festival has expanded to include even more local and national acts for up to 12 hours of music and several local vendors.
Ras Jahn and his wife Elizabeth Loving kept the festival going for years with the help and support of their friends Andrea Morris, Bren Carey, Diane Dodds, Ethel Allen, Kisha Zullo, Patty & Gary Samuel and Bob & Zach Bond along with countless and invaluable volunteers. Sadly, Ras Jahn passed away in April of 2017. With the encouragement and support from Elizabeth, Hawks and Reed has taken the reins of the festival and has been working hard to keep it thriving for years to come, even with the difficulties of the pandemic cancelling the fest in 2020 and 2021.
For those who have been longtime attendees of the Charlemont Reggae Fest, you already know that without the late Ras Jahn Bullock’s dedication and love for reggae and community this event would not exist.
Charlemont Reggae Fest
Charlemont Fairgrounds (Directions: follow Route 2 into Charlemont center, then turn north onto Route 8A (Davis Mine Road) follow for about .2 miles then take right onto Park St. before the Bissell Covered Bridge)
Saturday, August 20th, 2022
Tix: $50 advance/$60 DOS – link
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