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Fans turn out for Portland Reggae Fest

One of the perks of hanging out on the Portland waterfront during an outdoor concert is that you don’t have to be a paying customer to enjoy the music.

As the opening act of the Portland Reggae Fest boomed out from the Maine State Pier on Sunday afternoon, passengers aboard Casco Bay Lines ferry boats got a front row seat for as long as it took to board or disembark.

The ferries, schooners and other harbor traffic provided a nautical backdrop for the latest in a series of summer concerts on the pier. An hour into the nine-hour-long festival, hundreds of people of all ages had already piled onto the pier.

“We are thrilled. We love it,” said Emily Davis of Mount Desert.

Davis said she and her children, Isaac Steiner, 12, and Asha Steiner, 9, won tickets to the concert. They were debating just how long they would stay.

The concert featured a definite Rastafarian motif. Concert-goers were dressed in Rastafarian green, gold and red, wore tie-dye shirts and sported dreadlocks. The odor of burning marijuana wafted through the crowd.

Food kiosks sold rice and peas, plantain chips and other Caribbean delicacies while other vendors offered henna tattoos and Rasta-style hats. Shop Chronic, a retail operation started by two Maine entrepreneurs offering a line of products designed for the “cannabis lifestyle,” rounded out the Rasta theme.

Organized by the city of Portland and Waterfront Concerts of Bangor, the concert was one of a number of oceanside concerts this summer that some say is a sign that demand for outdoor music is on the upswing in Maine.

Reggae Fest is one of five concerts that Waterfront Concerts of Bangor has been involved in organizing on the Maine State Pier this year, including Alanis Morissette on Aug. 23 and ZZ Top on Sept. 27.

Concert promoters point to the success of the Mumford & Sons concert on the Eastern Promenade in 2012 that drew 15,000 fans.

Thompson’s Point developers have said their Portland development would include a venue capable of accommodating as many as 5,000 people.

Other cities, such as South Portland and Westbrook, have eyed the possibility of developing waterfront concert venues, but so far no concrete plans have emerged.

The hundreds of people who showed up at Sunday’s festival were a sign that live dance music seaside will draw a crowd on a sunny summer day. Read more

CHRONIXX (@IAmChronixx) Tops Reggae Album Chart Following ‘Tonight Show’ & Central Park Performances

Two recent high-profile performances in New York City by Jamaica’s most talked about reggae artist, Chronixx, have resulted in a sales surge and significant international career boost for the 21-year-old Rastafarian sing-jay. Chronixx (b. Jamar McNaughton) and his band Zinc Fence Redemption made their U.S. television debut on NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on July 22 performing their single “Here Comes Trouble.”

While holding a copy of Chronixx’s current EP Dread and Terrible, an enthusiastic Fallon told his audience he’d heard the upbeat Rasta anthem “Here Comes Trouble” while vacationing in Jamaica at Goldeneye Resort and Hotel owned by Island Records founder-turned-hotel-and-rum magnate Chris Blackwell. (Earlier this year, Chronixx signed a publishing deal with Blackwell’s Blue Mountain Publishing). Fallon inquired about the artist and subsequently booked him to perform on the show, four days ahead of the artist’s free concert on July 26 as part of Central Park’s annual SummerStage series, produced by the City Parks Foundation. Read more

Reggae Night at Carter Barron: Jam with Junior Marvin

Feb. 14, 1977, was the greatest Valentine’s Day of Junior Marvin’s life. The Jamaican-born guitarist, who headlines Reggae Night at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre on Friday, was living in London and had an appointment that day with Chris Blackwell, the head of Island Records.

Before he left his apartment, his telephone rang. It was Stevie Wonder. Wonder’s guitarist was leaving and had recommended Marvin as a replacement, so the American R&B star was offering Marvin the job. Marvin begged for a few hours to think about it and rushed off to his appointment with Blackwell.

Blackwell took him into an apartment in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood; sitting with his back turned was a man in long dreadlocks. Read more