By Stephen Weir
Happy. Exhausted. Full up to here with doubles and roti. Thousands and thousands of people spent two days soaking up the Soca and riding the Reggae wave at Mississauga’s TD Irie Music Festival. And for those that couldn’t get enough of headliner Farmer Nappy there was a perfect weather Sunday cruise aboard the Yankee Lady 111 on Lake Ontario.
The music was free. The parking was free. About the only thing you had to pay for was the sunscreen, the food and drink. People of all ages filled the Celebration Square next door to the Square One supermall in Mississauga.
Phil Vassell’s TD Irie Music Festival has grown into a major event for Mississauga’s summer. How much did people love this weekend’s festival? The Caribbean Camera received a letter demanding that the public park “HAS to be called Irie Square next year”. The paper will pass along the suggestion to the proper authorities.
Phil’s magic formula: Reggae on Friday night, Soca on Saturday night and lots of things for the kids to do in between. Throw in both Canadian and International Stars and lots of food and beverage and you get a festival that people are already blocking off for on their 2020 calendars.
This year Grammy-nominated reggae and dancehall singer, Junior Reid, was the big act on Friday. Singing to tracks, he somehow worked Mississauga into the lyrics of some of his classic songs.
And while the Jamaican singer was the man the people wanted to share the summer solstice with, it was Toronto singer, dancer and model Tiffanie Malvo who won the hearts of parents. The daughter of reggae veteran Anthony Malvo stepped out of her stage persona for a few minutes to get a hundred or so children to learn how to do the Dodo Do dance!
“Year 17! It was a great weekend,” Vassell told the Caribbean Camera. “The surprise guest was Farmer Nappy and he delivered the entire weekend!”
The Trinidad singer, best known for his song Big People Party, was the hit of Saturday night, with the help of Jamaal Magloire and the Revellers.
The Mas camp sent a number of scantily clad Mas models to dance and sing with the high-energy performer. How come the models made the trip from Toronto? It was an opportunity to get the people of Mississauga to sign up with the Toronto Revellers and play Mas in the August Caribana where Farmer Nappy will be on the Revellers’ truck.
Two other bandleaders sent crews to Irie. Epic Carnival had a pop-up-shop where people could purchase costumes for the Toronto parade. And model Rochelle, in a mass of feathers and not much else, appeared on stage for Bajan Sensation Designs.
“We were at the Irie Music Festival on Saturday promoting the Costume Creators Mas Band for Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2019,” said Keiana Reid-Maynard, the Rum Punch Kingdom Section Leader. “It was worth the drive! Just look at her picture, this was a successful event because we are still getting serious inquiries about our costumes!”
Saturday night was the end of the party for Mississauga but for Farmer Nappy followers, there was a meet-and-greet cruise Sunday afternoon aboard the Yankee Lady. The Toronto Harbour trip was the perfect end to Irie and the unofficial start of the summer carnival season.
#Caribbean music#Caribbean Festivals #Irie Music Festival Caribbean Rum Punch #Caribbean Festival Mississauga#Caribbean People # Junior Reid# Farmer Nappy