Nine bests among many at the 2015 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

Susan Raines - AXS Contributor
By: AXS Contributor Jul 2, 2015
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The 2015 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival took place for its 22nd year on June 19-21 with many incredible experiences recorded by thousands who will remember the fest for many years to come. The lineup was amazing and no one can quibble about that statement because it's pure fact. If anyone wants to foolishly quibble, they just don't love great Reggae and World music the likes of Third World, Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Luciano, Yellowman, Max Romeo, Stick Figure, Sister Carol, Thievery Corporation and so many more.

Every set that was performed on the two stages was worthy of thunderous applause and respect. The artists all rocked their socks off, if they were wearing socks in the warm summer days that the festival took place. The days were indeed warm and a mite dusty but the festival provided expansive shade options and the Village Stage was set amongst the tall, green trees. The green field around the Valley Stage welcomed hula hoopers, folding chairs, blankets, parasols and thousands of happy music lovers who had the option of setting up under several very large shade canopies provided for their comfort.

Children played in the kids center or joined their parents in the bowl where performers kept the magic going all day long. Dancers, tilt walkers, drummers and a variety of entertainment could often be enjoyed while strolling from one stage to the other or meandering through the venue. Food vendors were ample enough to provide many choices and merchandise vendors tempted the crowds with colorful crafts, art and clothing. The overall festival provided an atmosphere of a huge family gathering celebrating a Summer Solstice love for World Music.

Following are some of the highlights that Sierra Nevada World Music Festival guests may agree were among the top of hundreds, more probably thousands, of delightful and memorable moments and aspects of the fest.

  • Best Photographers' late night hope to catch
    Fire dancers came out at the end of the evening shows and set the night aglow. Swirling, dancing, arcing and flaming images leapt in the nig
    Susan Raines

    Fire dancers came out at the end of the evening shows and set the night aglow. Swirling, dancing, arcing and flaming images leapt in the night for guests to enjoy. Photographers came forward and turned the shutter speeds down in attempts to capture the dance of fire while the dancers twirled their flaming batons.

    While live music is exciting to photograph for various reasons including to memorialize the experience, publish for media and to share with friends, photographing lights in the night is often another photographers' favorite. The fire dancers did a great job keeping the flames going in circles and exciting patterns. Thumbs up for another bonus to the music at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.

     

  • Best danceable sets by Melborne and Gentleman's
    If SNWMF guests hadn't been inspired to dance, wiggle, twist, bob and generally have fun moving their bodies during the first two days o
    Susan Raines

    If SNWMF guests hadn't been inspired to dance, wiggle, twist, bob and generally have fun moving their bodies during the first two days of the fest, there was no holding them back by the time the Melbourne Ska Orchestra and the Gentleman's Dub Club hit the stage on Sunday.

    Despite the warm day, these two bands inspired a great deal of enthusiasm and the crowds came alive. The Gentleman's Dub Club has "built a reputation for consistently delivering one of the most energetic and exhilarating live shows to emerge from the UK bass music scene" and their debonair suits and flair don't hurt the eyes either. The nine band members have got the goods and those goods were working their groove into the minds and bodies of the festies on site.

    The Melbourne Ska Orchestra followed the Gentlemen and kept on hitting the dancing vibe right out of the park. The personality of the band members and their original approach to Ska and Reggae hit dead center target for making the festival diverse and strong in both Reggae and World music. Infectious, glorious and spirited are only a few fitting words to describe the Melbourne Ska Orchestra performance at the 2015 SNWMF.

  • Best Summer Solstice image by Jimmy Cliff
    The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival is all about the music and the good vibes that go with it but it is also about celebrating the annual
    Susan Raines

    The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival is all about the music and the good vibes that go with it but it is also about celebrating the annual Summer Solstice. Jimmy Cliff is an incredible performer and Reggae artist and he also coincidentally managed to be situated in the best spot in mid performance to create a Summer Solstice salute. While the glowing ball is actually one of the dramatic stage lights in effect, Jimmy's combination of Tai Chi style movements and praise for life makes it appear like he is thanking the blessings of the fiery sun that provides essential warmth and light to keep our planet alive.

    Thank Jah for the sun! Thank you God for the warmth and light that makes the grass and the fruit and foods grow. Thank you Jimmy Cliff for your animated and dynamic performance!

     

  • Best sexy
    Best sexy award goes to the belly dancing performance by Nathalie Tedrick during the Thievery Corporation set. Nathalie's grace, beauty,
    Susan Raines

    Best sexy award goes to the belly dancing performance by Nathalie Tedrick during the Thievery Corporation set. Nathalie's grace, beauty, artistic talent and wholesome sexiness earn her a best for obvious reasons. Sexy without being grungy, artistic in her body movements and scarf manipulations and a pure pleasure to witness in combination with the awesome performances by Thievery Corporation make for another memorable moment for Sierra Nevada World Music Festival guests.

    According to her official website, Nathalie "is a professional actress, dancer, singer, choreographer, and instructor. She has ,,, been featured in national and international commercials, film, film festivals, and television ... and was recently nominated for Best Actress and won Best Song in Santa Rosa, California's 48 hour film festival. As a professional dancer, she has toured internationally with Miles Copeland's Bellydance Superstars from 2007-2013. She has performed in theaters across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and has also been featured on PBS, BBC, ABC, and more. Nathalie hopes to land dramatic and comedic roles in television and film, while sharing her love for performance and life with the world."

    Adding bellydancing to great live music increases the audio visual rewards. Nathalie was an ideal choice to stack up the goodness. Beautiful costume, beautiful lady, beautiful personality all brought extra dynamics and festival color to the experience. Another "Yes!" moment.

  • Best California debut by Max Romeo
    Max Romeo returned to the U.S. after a 22 year absence to make his California debut at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. If you haven&
    Susan Raines

    Max Romeo returned to the U.S. after a 22 year absence to make his California debut at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. If you haven't figured out which unforgettable treats rank at the top yet, consider Max Romeo as a hot one unlikely be topped. After a disappointing snag with visa processing required his cancellation of a SNWMF appearance in 2013, Max Romeo fans were on the edges of their seats and ready to take in his live performance.

    While Romeo may have been the one who introduced the concept of "rude reggae" to Europe and had some of his songs banned from the radio airwaves at the start, he is also among the first Rastaman singers to record a series of deeply spiritual and socially conscious roots songs. His performance on the SNWMF Valley Stage was inspiring to say the least. His performance was full of flavor, depth, intensity and meaning. Those who were fortunate enough to experience his California debut will surely be hoping to catch him at another live performance before he leaves for other lands because creating hit albums starting back in 1968 hasn't dulled the magic and Max Romeo brought it on in extreme Reggae bliss in his 2015 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival performance.

  • Best Press Personality
    While many festival attendees may not give much consideration to the press and media that promotes and covers a festival, the press has a ma
    Susan Raines

    While many festival attendees may not give much consideration to the press and media that promotes and covers a festival, the press has a major impact on how a festival can be viewed before and after an event. Mr. Anthony Postman is one of best people in the Reggae press industry for bringing a hugely positive contribution. Editor in Chief for the Reggae Festival Guide, musician, teacher and all around "irie" guy wins a full slough of stars for remaining calm, positive and kind as well as being knowledgeable about the music and its artists.

    When a person of the press attends an event like the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, they are most often attending for business reasons but the personal reasons drive them beyond the immediate career demands. Love for the music, the philosophy and the magic of the festival atmosphere runs deep and strong in those media personnel who keep on covering live events despite the dust, the physical toll and often the less than satisfactory financial rewards. Many media people are even volunteers and arrive in full force out of love for the music and the musicians.

    Anthony appears to be well known throughout the Reggae industry and almost every artist on the stage knows about the Reggae Festival Guide. However, knowing about the guide doesn't really explain the "Best" justification for Mr. Postman. With dreadlocks longer than many Reggae artists on the stage, a refusal to succumb to agreement on negative commentary other than an understanding nod, a true appreciation of the art, a respect for the musicians and the challenges they must saddle, and a kindness that comes forth from his eyes, you can count yourself lucky to be interviewed by Postman, an acknowledged peer, a friend or a fellow Reggae Fest lover.

    This photo captures Anthony Postman in a moment of praise for Max Romeo's performance on June 20. Loving what you do makes you an irie person and love is contagious. Way to go Anthony and how you inspire other members of the press as well as all the festival guests who are blessed to share these moments with you.

  • Best seriously passionate multi-instrumentalist Stevie Love
    If you know Reggae and you know guitar and bass and everything else the music must have, then you undoubtedly know Stevie Love is going to r
    Susan Raines

    If you know Reggae and you know guitar and bass and everything else the music must have, then you undoubtedly know Stevie Love is going to rock the place. Stevie came on wicked strong with the strings while Sister Carol laid out her incredible voice and lyrics. A Reggae festival just isn't all it could be without Stevie somewhere in the place. The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival insured they had the best in the house when Stevie Love walked in with that ever endearing face.

    Here are a few things people say about Stevie Love, "Legendary," "wicked on the bass," "Real superstar," "Teach" and "Boss."  In other words, Stevie knows his stuff and flaunts it with grace, with grins, with a skill and a passion that summons respect wherever he goes. And, his name is a testament to his state of mind, Love.

  • Best Dressed Lads
    No-Maddz wins the best dressed award due to their snazzy sunglasses and interesting style. These guys know how to put on a show with spark,
    Susan Raines

    No-Maddz wins the best dressed award due to their snazzy sunglasses and interesting style. These guys know how to put on a show with spark, class and talent. With backgrounds in acting, they are well versed in performance and No-Maddz turned up the heat with their energetic beats. This Jamaican band of handsome lads originally formed as a Dub Poetry group at their Kingston College alma mater in 2000 and went on to record their debut album The Trod in 2010.

    No-Maddz is the only record holder of a perfect score in the annual Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s performing arts festival. They are also an alumni member of the Billy Mystic led Jamnesia Jam sessions, which has spawned some of this time's most talented new artistes, bands and musicians.

    Of course, crediting them the best dressed award is merely a fun commentary on a group that is destined to keep on the rise as their influence spreads globally and audiences get a chance to experience their extensive skills and special flare and flavor first hand. Their music encompasses dub poetry, alternative, reggae, world, blues, jazz, funk, big band, pop, dub step, lovers rock, r&b, hip hop and new world. They incorporate a range of influences to create a fresh and alive sound that pops while they consistently keep their audiences happy and filled with good energy.

  • Best Irie Vibe
    Luciano brings on the love vibes that make everyone in the audience feel good. He is genuine, kind and brings heart to the music he shares w
    Susan Raines

    Luciano brings on the love vibes that make everyone in the audience feel good. He is genuine, kind and brings heart to the music he shares with the world. His voice is smooth yet strong and rings out in "Irie" vibrations to touch the hearts of men, women and children who are willing to feel and hear his message, "We are One."

    During Luciano's SNWMF set, he came down off the stage, into the photo pit and reached over the barrier into the crowd, flinging his long locks, hugging whoever he could reach and summoning cheers from all who witnessed. He returned to the stage with some fun dancing on his belly, legs waving back and forth as he lay upon a huge speaker, enchanting the crowd with his sense of fun.

    Interaction with the audience always gives a performer a boost up into the top ten highlights of any festival or concert. Interacting with genuine good spirits and love soars a performer to greater heights for anyone who values the live experience of an artist putting his heart and soul into sharing his gifts and himself with the world. Luciano rocked his set and stole the hearts of everyone ... with ease. His music and personality come imbued with the World experience of Irie love.

     

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