Roots & Rhythm Music Festival will bring Caribbean vibes to Windsor

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What better way to enjoy summer by the Windsor River than with the Roots and Rhythm Music Festival? Featuring authentic reggae, soca and many Caribbean dishes, dances and cultures – July 27-28.

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Do you like a good roots reggae rhythm? Or the sexy and happy sound of the soca? The smell of jerk chicken and rice? Or the sight of a cool drinking gyal?

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Then you’ll want to be by the river July 27-28 for the Caribbean Roots & Rhythm Music Festival in Windsor.

“It’s the heat,” promises promoter Fuji One. “It’s the epitome of summer. Reggae and soca on the river. We’re trying to bring a little Caribana to Windsor.

The festival is the first of its kind for the Riverfront Festival Plaza. The two-day event will feature a lineup of international groups and artists showcasing a variety of Caribbean styles.

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Headlining group Third World, from Kingston, Jamaica, has been playing reggae for over 40 years. They are recognized as one of the greats of roots reggae, and their funky sound has spanned over 21 albums.

“It’s a real honor to have them in Windsor,” says Fuji. “I feel like I’m innovating to bring them here.”

Glen Washington, who infuses his reggae with soul and seriousness, has ties to Jamaica and Detroit, making his performance in Windsor a homecoming.

“All of his music has to do with feelings. Tell you a story, try to teach you. There is always a message in his songs, ”explains Fuji.

Bajan soca artist Alison Hinds.
Bajan soca artist Alison Hinds. Photo of Fuji 1 Promotions Inc. /Windsor Star

The soca genre is known for its upbeat, club-oriented vibe, and the festival will have lively representatives of Barbados in hip singer Alison Hinds and Rupee.

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“Soca is the sexy music of the Caribbean,” says Fuji. “I would say Rupee is one of the first guys to make that tropical pop sound.”

Other scheduled artists include Universal Xpression, Roots Vibration Band, Clement Gordon, OC Roberts, Ken Serious, King Arubis and Willie Ferguson of Windsor.

But the festival is not just a celebration of sound: there is also a lot of Caribbean culture to discover, including drums, dance performances, arts and crafts, and merchandise vendors.

And of course, there’s the taste of the Caribbean: Food vendors will be offering island fare like jerk chicken, goat curry, and oxtail stew.

“I like the fish – the red snapper and the escovitch (fried fish with vegetables) style,” says Fuji.

Windsor’s Caribbean Roots & Rhythm Music Festival takes place July 27-28 at the Riverfront Festival Plaza (300 Riverside Dr. East). Doors open July 27 at 6 p.m. and July 28 at 12 p.m. Ages 19 and over only.

Tickets for July 27 are $ 28.25 (plus tax), tickets for July 28 are $ 39.55. Get a weekend pass for $ 56.50. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit rootsandrhythm.ca.

Detroit reggae artist Glen Washington.
Detroit reggae artist Glen Washington. Photo of Fuji 1 Promotions Inc. /Windsor Star

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